Protesters shout slogans during a protest to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers on Thursday. Ramzi Boudina/ Reuters
ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters gathered in central Algiers on Friday, piling pressure on President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to resign days after the country's powerful military called for his removal.
The army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, on Tuesday asked the constitutional council to rule whether the ailing 82-year-old president is fit for office.
Bouteflika, facing the biggest crisis of his 20-year-old rule, has failed to placate Algerians by reversing a decision to seek a fifth term.
“Streets pressure will continue until the system goes,” said student Mohamed Djemai, 25.
Protesters have ambitious demands. They want to overthrow an entire political system and replace it with a new generation of leaders capable of modernising the oil-dependent state and giving hope to a population impatient for a better life.
Algeria’s army chief called on Wednesday for dialogue between protesters and state institutions, a day after pushing back against demonstrators’ demands for top politicians to quit.
Hundreds of Algerians rallied on Wednesday outside the offices of the country’s biggest union, calling for its chief to quit over his ties to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Hundreds of Algerian protesters gathered on Friday in the capital despite a spate of arrests ahead of the latest weekly rally since the April 2 resignation of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, correspondents said.
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