Algerian gather during an anti government demonstration in Algiers on Friday. Ryad Kramdi / AFP
Tens of thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria's ruling elite rallied peacefully in Algiers for a tenth consecutive Friday.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change.
"The system must go" and "We are fed up with you," read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers, scene of mass protests since Feb.22.
There was no official count but Reuters reporters estimated the number of participants rising after Friday prayers to tens of thousands, like last week.
"The people want to uproot you," a crowd chanted, addressing the elite which has ruled the oil- and gas-producing nation since independence from France in 1962.
The protests, which have been largely peaceful, have continued as many demand the removal of the elite and prosecution of those they see as corrupt.
Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4. He has been facing demands from the street to quit.
Algeria’s wealthiest businessman and four other tycoons close to Bouteflika were arrested this week as part of an anti-graft investigation, state media said.
The arrests came after army chief Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah said he expected members of the ruling elite to be prosecuted for corruption.
Salah intervened when Bouteflika sought to extend his fourth term, declaring him unfit for office, in a bid to avoid prolonged turmoil.
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.
Algeria’s magistrates, who play a key role overseeing the country’s elections, said on Saturday they would boycott a July 4 presidential election in support of the protest movement.
The latest crackdown is part of a probe in 42 cities into alleged irregularities in the foreign ministry entrance exam in favour of members of a movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, said that the UAE strongly condemns this criminal act that threatens the security and stability of Egypt.
These forces were shot at and responded, which left seven dead among the group," which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said in a statement.