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Algerian protesters demand ex-president’s trial amid anti-graft swoop

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In April, Bouteflika was forced to resign in the wake of nationwide protests and pressure from the North African country’s powerful military.

Demonstrations have since continued every Friday in Algeria, demanding removal of the key Bouteflika-era officials and bring corrupt suspects to justice.

Earlier this week, judges at the country’s top court ordered two Bouteflika-era prime ministers held in custody as part of investigations into alleged corruption.

On Friday, protesters gathering in the centre of the capital Algiers called for the prosecution of Bouteflika as well.

“He was the one who opened the road for this gang to drown the country in looting and corruption,’’ Osmani Sulaiman, a 25-year-old protester, told dpa.

He was referring to ex-government officials now facing corruption charges.

Other protesters called for public trials for the suspects.

“The people have the right to follow, at least on television, the trial of those who have brought misery to us,” Isma Ghalumi, a 33-year-old protester, said.

“The people will not allow trials to be held behind closed doors,’’ she added.

Bouteflika, 82, ruled the energy-rich country for 20 years in an era dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.

Since his resignation, Algeria has launched a crackdown against senior officials and businessmen close to Bouteflika.

 

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