March 1, 2019 / 1:10 PM / a year ago

Thousands of Algerians protests against Bouteflika's re-election bid

ALGIERS, March 1 (Reuters) - Thousands of Algerians gathered in the capital on Friday to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plan to extend his 20-year rule by seeking a fifth term in the April elections, witnesses said.

Assembling in the city centre after Friday prayers, protesters chanted “Bye, bye Bouteflika” and “peaceful, peaceful”. Riot police were at the scene.

Since last Friday thousands have taken part in rarely seen anti-government protests. Bouteflika, 81, suffered a stroke in 2013, has been seen in public only a few times since and has given no known speeches in years.

Many Algerians for years avoided politics in public fearing trouble from the omnipresent security services or disillusioned as the country has been run by the same group of veterans since the 1954-1962 independence war with France. (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi and Tarek Amara Writing by Ulf Laessing Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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