Hundreds of thousands protest against ruling elite in Algeria

Hundreds of thousands protest against ruling elite in Algeria
Hundreds of thousands protest against ruling elite in Algeria

Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in Algiers after Friday prayers, chanting "We will not shut up!" and demanding the departure of Algeria's ruling elite a month after the downfall of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Weeks ofdemonstrations forced Bouteflika out of office on April 2 after 20 years inpower. Protesters have continued mass demonstrations every Friday, demandingother members of the elite also give way.

They are callingfor the resignation of the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, who isserving for 90 days until an election on July 4, and of Prime MinisterNoureddine Bedoui, appointed by Bouteflika days before he stepped down.

"You mustgo" and "Thieves you have destroyed the country", read bannersheld by protesters. "Algeria, free and democratic," others chantedwhile marching through central Algiers.

There was noofficial count but a Reuters journalist estimated the crowd to be hundreds ofthousands like last week.

The army remains the most powerful institution in Algeria, having swayed politics from the shadows for decades. It has so far patiently monitored the mostly peaceful protests.

Last week, the armychief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah – who helped push outBouteflika after having him declared unfit for office – said several bigcorruption cases would come to light in a crackdown on graft.

A number of figuresfrom the ruling elite, including the finance minister, former prime ministerand several rich businessmen have come under investigation in recent weeks.

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