Thousands of Algerians protest against Bouteflika’s re-election bid

Demonstrators march in the streets of the Algerian capital, Algiers, to denounce President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, Friday, Feb. 23, 2019. (AP)
Updated 22 February 2019
0

Thousands of Algerians protest against Bouteflika’s re-election bid

ALGIERS: Thousands of young Algerians took to the streets of the capital on Friday to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plans to seek a fifth term and police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The 81-year old, in office since 1999, has said he will contest the April 18 presidential election, despite concerns over his health. He has been seen in public only a handful of times since suffering a stroke in 2013.
“No to Bouteflika and no to Said,” a crowed chanted while marching through the center of Algiers. The president’s youngest brother Said Bouteflika is a presidential adviser.
Reuters journalists filmed tear gas being fired over a crowd that ran to escape.
“We and the security are brothers,” some protesters chanted.
The protest came after mosque preachers had warned in Friday prayers against demonstrating, warning of violence.
Bouteflika’s re-election bid comes after the ruling FLN party picked him as its official presidential candidate. Several political parties, trade unions and business organizations have already said they would support his re-election.
He is expected to easily win the vote as the opposition remains weak and divided.
But many young people feel disconnected from an elite made up of veteran fighters from Algeria’s 1954-1962 independence war with France.
His re-election would provide short-term stability for the FLN, the army and business tycoons, and postpone a potentially difficult succession.
Bouteflika remains popular with many Algerians, who credit him with ending a long civil war by offering an amnesty to former extremist fighters.
Algeria is a key gas supplier to Europe and an ally of the United States in the fight against Islamist militants in the Sahel region of North Africa.


UN's Mladenov urges Israel and Palestine to calm tensions, work toward a solution

Updated 17 min 41 sec ago
0

UN's Mladenov urges Israel and Palestine to calm tensions, work toward a solution

NEW YORK: United Nations’ Nickolay Mladenov used a Security Council address on Tuesday to call on the international community to urge Israel and Palestine to calm tensions following an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

He also urged Israel to exercise restraint and not to use force without the need for it. Mladenov said there was no alternative to the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that only the political will of Israel and Palestine can work toward a solution.

The UN's Middle East envoy  condemned the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel, and the subsequent Israeli retaliation. He tweeted Monday that the UN was working "intensely" with Egyptian mediators and "all sides" to stave off a looming escalation but that "the situation remains very tense."

Efforts by Egypt and the UN to restore a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers have stopped numerous explosions of cross-border violence in the past.

More to follow.