Algerian protesters keep up pressure on country’s rulers

 Algerian protesters keep up pressure on country's rulers
Algerian protesters keep up pressure on country's rulers

Tens of thousands Algerians gathered on Friday in the capital to demand the removal of the ruling elite, keeping up pressure for more rapid change after the end of the 20-year rule of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The protest, whichcoincided with Algeria's Independence Day, was the 20th consecutive Fridaycrowds had gathered to demand a break with the elite which has dominated theoil and gas producer for decades.

Several bannersheld up by protesters referred to an article of the consitution which says thepeople are the sovereign, while some others read: "We want a free and democraticstate" and "We don't want a military state but a civilianstate".

Algeria's army, thecountry's most powerful institution, has managed the transition from Bouteflikabut wants to overcome the deadlock rapidly through a presidential election,observers say.

A vote had beeninitially planned for this week but was postponed by the authorities.

The army fearsinstability in neighbouring Libya and the Sahel region will encourage armedgroups to operate in Algeria to exploit the transition.

Algeria is animportant gas supplier for Europe and a key U.S. partner in the fight againstmilitants in the region.

"The system iscorrupt, fully corrupt. So we demand the removal of all those who were withBouteflika's system," said 23-year old Slimani Hached who works at a statefirm in Algiers.

Protesters againcalled for the removal of Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and PrimeMinister Nouredine Bedoui, who are both seen as close allies ofBouteflika. 

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