Is Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Next?
The wave of protest in the Arab world spreads soon after the Egyptian people succeeded in toppling Hosni Mubarak, a task considered by many as impossible, as protests broke out in Algeria, a country in the region who faced this kind of unrest since the first protests of Tunisians against unemployment and poor life conditions.
Demonstrators gathered on Saturday in the 1 May Square, in the capital of Algeria, Alger, to shout “Bouteflika out!” referring to president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who’s been a president of Algeria since 1999.
Organizers of the protest said there were thousands of people in the square, while police and security forces, who eventually put the demonstration down, gave different figures, from dozens to thousands.
Thousands of riot police were present and prevented the demonstrators from marching through the capital. Many were arrested, though the numbers of those in custody also vary.
By Saturday afternoon, the 1 May Square was filled with riot police and armored vehicles, while principal roads to the center were blocked.
According to the Interior Minister, who posted a statement on its website, about 250 people took part in the demonstration and 14 of them were arrested.
Algeria has been operating under state of emergency for nearly two decades.
On Friday, security forces wounded some people outside the office of an opposition leader, while celebrating the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.11