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EOS Alerts 15-3-2019

Algeria: Protests Continue in Algiers

Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in the centre of the Algerian capital, Algiers, for a fourth consecutive Friday demanding that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika leave his office. The rally is the first major test of whether Bouteflika has calmed anger on the streets with his surprise announcement on 11 March that he would not seek re-election, but was cancelling an April presidential poll. The protest movement has been led by students, in a country where half the population is under the age of 30 and youth unemployment has spurred anger against a government seen as out of touch. The military, which has traditionally played a behind-the-scenes power broker role, has distanced itself from Bouteflika and stayed in its barracks throughout the crisis. It is expected to retain influence under all scenarios.

The latest string of protests are the most significant to have taken place in Algeria since the Arab Spring. Similar political rallies and protests are expected across Algeria. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out, with previous reports of security forces having used water cannons to disperse demonstrators.

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