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Algerian students protest Bouteflika’s presidential bid



Algiers, March 4, 2019 (dpa/NNN) Hundreds of Algerian students took to the streets on Monday, after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s promises for key reforms failed to quell public anger against his bid for a fifth term in office.

Witnesses told dpa that hundreds joined demonstrations held in several Algerian cities, including Constantine and Jijel, east of Algiers.

Some protesters threatened civil disobedience, asking the Constitutional Council, the agency in charge of handling papers of presidential aspirants, not to accept his bid.

In the capital, security forces were deployed around Maurice Audin Square near the University of Algiers.

The protests came one day after Bouteflika’s campaign manager, Abdeghani Zalene, submitted the candidacy papers on his behalf.

In a letter read by Zalene, Bouteflika said that if he was re-elected in the April polls, he would not serve out the full five-year term and instead call early elections in which he would not participate as a candidate.

He also promised to draft a new constitution, as well as political, social, institutional and economic reforms.

Mass protests have erupted across Algeria since Bouteflika announced his intention to seek a new term in February.

The 82-year-old president suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public.

He travelled to Geneva on Feb. 24, “to conduct regular medical check-ups,’’ and it is not clear if he has since returned to the country.

His fitness for staying in power has been an open question since he stood for the 2014 presidential vote, which he won. (dpa/NNN)

Edited by Abigael Joshua/Ismail Abdulaziz

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