Chronology of protests that led to ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Updated 05 April 2019
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Chronology of protests that led to ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

ALGIERS: Here is a timeline of the political drama in the north African nation:

• On Feb. 22, tens of thousands of people demonstrate in several cities in the first major protests against Bouteflika’s candidacy in planned April 18 elections. After rallying calls on social media, thousands turn out to chant “No fifth mandate!” — including in Algiers, where demonstrations have been banned since 2001. Police fire tear gas to block a march on the presidential palace, prompting some demonstrators to respond by throwing stones.

• On Feb. 26, thousands of students rally peacefully in Algiers. Two days later, a dozen journalists are detained for several hours as they participate in a rally against alleged censorship of protest coverage.

• On March 1, tens of thousands protest across the country, including in second and third cities Oran and Constantine. In Algiers, some protesters chant: “Regime murderers!“

• On March 2, Bouteflika, in Switzerland for nearly a week undergoing “routine medical checks,” sacks his veteran campaign manager. The next day, state television airs a letter from the president in which he vows not to serve a full term if re-elected, and to organize early polls in which he will not stand. Shortly afterward, his new campaign manager formally submits the president’s candidacy, just ahead of the deadline.

• On March 5, as thousands march again, the army chief pledges to guarantee national security, accusing unidentified groups of wanting a return to the “painful years” of Algeria’s 1992-2002 civil war.

• Bouteflika on March 7 warns of “chaos” if troublemakers infiltrate the demonstrations.

• On March 8, tens of thousands in several cities take part in the biggest rallies yet against Bouteflika’s candidacy.

• On March 10, Bouteflika returns from Switzerland. The next day, he pulls out of the race and cancels the elections. “There will not be a fifth term,” he announces on official media. Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui is named prime minister, replacing unpopular premier Ahmed Ouyahia.

• On March 15, a huge crowd marches through Algiers for a fourth consecutive Friday, demanding Bouteflika’s departure. Major protests rock other key cities.

• On March 18, Bouteflika issues a statement confirming he will stay on as president beyond the end of his term on April 28 and until new elections are held, following a constitutional review.

• On March 22, exactly a month after the protests started, hundreds of thousands of Algerians again stage demonstrations across the country.

• On March 26 army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah demands Bouteflika step down or be declared medically unfit to rule. A day later the ruling party’s long-time coalition ally, the National Rally for Democracy (RND) of former Prime Minister Ouyahia, says it “recommends the resignation of the president.”

• On March 28, the president of Algeria’s Business Leaders Forum, Ali Haddad, close to Bouteflika, resigns. The next day, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters throng the streets of Algiers and other cities. Demonstrators say top loyalists’ moves to abandon Bouteflika do not go far enough.

• On March 31, Bouteflika names a new government headed by Bedoui. Salah, the armed forces chief who has called for the president to step down, remains as deputy defense minister.

• On April 1, a statement on state media says Bouteflika will resign before his mandate expires on April 28.

• On Tuesday, Salah demands immediate impeachment proceedings against Bouteflika. Shortly afterward, state television reports that the president has informed the Constitutional Council that he is resigning effective immediately.

• On Wednesday, the Constitutional Council officially accepts his resignation and informs Parliament that his post is vacant. The new government makes a series of conciliatory moves toward the press, opposition, NGOs and unions. Bouteflika apologizes to the Algerian people, in a letter published by state media, but says he is “proud” of his contribution.


Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

Updated 23 April 2019
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Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

  • Mohammed bin Ali Koman says the situation requires the cooperation of all to alleviate the suffering of the victims and their families
  • He was commemorating Arab Day to raise awareness of the pain of victims of terrorist acts

TUNIS: Not only does the harm caused by terrorist crimes affect innocent victims, it also leaves their families and communities with psychological and social pain, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior has said.

This situation requires the cooperation of all to alleviate the suffering of the victims and their families and help them overcome their predicament, Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Koman said.

Koman was commemorating Arab Day to raise awareness of the pain of victims of terrorist acts, held every year on April 22 by the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, member states and the League of Arab States.

“Today is an opportunity to raise awareness of the pain and tragedies of victims of terrorist attacks and encourage all initiatives undertaken by official bodies and civil society organizations to alleviate their suffering,” he said.

“The effects of terrorist crimes have exceeded aggression against human lives and property to psychological and social impacts as well as affecting families,” he said.

“Terrorist crimes result in a continuous bleeding to the heart of affected communities, especially with the terrorist media being devoted to inspiring and promoting their criminal operations, which have affected thousands of victims, including children, women and the elderly.”

He hailed the efforts of the security services in their fight against terrorism and the great improvement in reducing its crimes in recent years, expressing his sympathies for the victims and his support for their families to overcome the aftermath of these crimes.

Koman stressed that the Council of Arab Interior Ministers has taken special measures to raise awareness about the pain of victims of terrorist acts, including the development of media programs to raise security awareness and improve citizens’ contribution to countering terrorist acts in implementation of the Arab counter-terrorism strategy. This was in addition to assigning the Arab bureau for security-related information activities, which operates under the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, to prepare media programs and materials to raise awareness about the dangers of terrorist acts and the suffering they cause.

He highlighted that the council’s efforts go beyond raising awareness to taking concrete measures to support the victims of terrorist acts, including members of the Arab security services and their families.

Koman said that these efforts include the establishment of an Arab security solidarity fund to cover the expenses of medical, social, and psychological support for Arab police and security personnel and their families, in addition to the development of a model for the organizational structure of a department in the security services specializing in psychological counseling.

“The department will be operated by social workers and psychologists who have the capacity to help victims overcome the pain and tragedy of terrorism,” he said.

Koman praised the efforts of Arab countries in assisting the victims of terrorist acts and alleviating their suffering, including providing financial and moral support and providing them with treatment and privileges, such as monthly wages, scholarships for their families and medals of honors to their martyrs.

He urged public and civil society institutions to develop awareness-raising efforts through holding seminars and organizing events to remember the suffering of the victims and provide them with social, psychological and financial support.

Koman concluded by saying a prayer for the victims harmed by terrorist acts and members of the security services who died foiling terrorist crimes and fighting terrorists.