Algerian students protest against Bouteflika 'tricks'

Algerian students protest against Bouteflika 'tricks'

ALGIERS- Agence France-Presse
Algerian students protest against Bouteflika tricks

Hundreds of students protested in the Algerian capital on March 12, accusing ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of seeking to prolong his two-decade rule despite abandoning his bid for a fifth term.

"The students are resisting the extension of the fourth mandate," they chanted in a square outside the main post office of Algiers, a day after Bouteflika cancelled next month's presidential election.

Half a dozen police vans were parked around the Place de la Grande Poste, which has been the epicenter of protests demanding the 82-year-old leader step down.

"No tricks, Bouteflika," the demonstrators chanted.

They were responding to calls on social media for renewed mass protests, after the cancellation of the April presidential polls raised fears of a ploy to extend Bouteflika's hold on power.

"We will march more determined than ever to end this system, to end this mafia. We want a republican and democratic state," one message calling for demonstrations said.

On March 11 Bouteflika said in a message carried by the official APS news agency: "There will not be a fifth term" and "there will be no presidential election on April 18.”

He said new polls would be held at an unspecified date to be decided by a "national conference,” effectively extending his mandate.

Bouteflika, who has been rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, said he was responding to "a pressing demand that you have been numerous in making to me.”

Demonstrations against his re-election bid had brought tens of thousands onto the streets for the past three Fridays, with smaller demonstrations taking place on other days.