Thousands of protesters out on streets of Algiers

Demonstrators march with Algerian national flags during a protest to denounce President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in Algiers, Algeria, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (File/AP/Fateh Guidoum )
Updated 08 March 2019
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Thousands of protesters out on streets of Algiers

  • The president has not spoken in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, and is currently in hospital in Geneva
  • Algerians have been urged to stage a “March of 20 Million” by an anonymous party on social media

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters gathered Friday in the centre of the Algerian capital chanting slogans against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's re-election bid, AFP journalists said.
Waving Algeria's green-white-red flag, waves of men and women converged on the city's landmark Grand Post Office square, as youths staged a peaceful march. 

Earlier, Algerian authorities halted train and metro services in the capital Algiers amid heavy security ahead of expected protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Mass demonstrations now entering their third week have posed the biggest challenge to the ailing 82-year-old president, who has ruled for 20 years and is standing for re-election on April 18.
Tens of thousands of Algerians, tired of the dominance of elderly veterans of the 1954-1962 war of independence against France, have been demanding that Bouteflika step down, but despite ill health, he has submitted his candidacy papers.
Mass protests are expected to start in the afternoon.
On Thursday, Bouteflika issued his first warning to protesters, saying the unrest — the biggest since the 2011 “Arab Spring” — could destabilize Algeria, a major oil and gas producer.
The president has not spoken in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, and is currently in hospital in Geneva.
Algerians have been urged to stage a “March of 20 Million” by an anonymous party on social media, and hundreds of protesters gathered in Algiers ahead of what could be the biggest demonstrations yet in the capital and other cities.
Riot police have been deployed in growing numbers in recent days, but the military has so far stayed in its barracks.
“Today will be a decisive day,” said Mohamed, a teacher in Algiers.


Bong d’Or: Korean director wins Cannes’ top prize

Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
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Bong d’Or: Korean director wins Cannes’ top prize

  • French-Senegalese director Mati Diop’s “Atlantics" wins festival’s second place award, the Grand Prize
  • Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne shared the best director for “Young Ahmed”

CANNES, France: South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s social satire “Parasite,” about a poor family of hustlers who find jobs with a wealthy family, won the Cannes Film Festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, on Saturday.
The win for “Parasite” marks the first Korean film to ever win the Palme. In the festival’s closing ceremony, jury president Alejandro Inarritu said the choice had been “unanimous” for the nine-person jury.
The genre-mixing film had been celebrated as arguably the most critically acclaimed film at Cannes this year and the best yet from the 49-year-old director of “Snowpiercer” and “Okja.”
It was the second straight Palme victory for an Asian director. Last year, the award went to Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”
Two years ago, Bong was in Cannes’ competition with “Okja,” a movie distributed in North America by Netflix. After it and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” — another Netflix release — premiered in Cannes, the festival ruled that all films in competition needed French theatrical distribution. Netflix has since withdrawn from the festival on the French Riveira.
The festival’s second place award, the Grand Prize, went to French-Senegalese director Mati Diop’s “Atlantics.” Diop was the first black female director in competition at Cannes.
Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne shared the best director for “Young Ahmed.”
Best actor went to Antonio Banderas for Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” while best actress was won by British actress Emily Beecham for “Little Joe.”
Although few quibbled with the choice of Bong, some had expected Cannes to make history by giving the Palme to a female filmmaker for just the second time.
Celine Sciamma’s period romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was the Palme pick for many critics this year, but it ended up with best screenplay.
In the festival’s 72-year history, only Jane Champion has won the prize in 1993, and she tied with Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”