Algerians demand Bouteflika quits in biggest protest yet

People take part in a protest demanding immediate political change in Algiers, Algeria March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina - RC1847826D50

Hundreds of thousands of people protested in central Algiers on Friday in the biggest demonstration against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year rule since unrest began last month.

Protesters crammed streets and squares in the capital after Friday prayers, many draped in Algeria’s green, white and red flag. Demonstrations also took place in Bejaia, Oran, Batna, Tizi Ouzou and other cities.

“Bouteflika and his men must go as soon as possible,” said Yazid Ammari, 23, a student.

Reuters journalists estimated the crowd at hundreds of thousands of people, though there was no police estimate. The number fell to thousands by late afternoon.

A statement from the Algerian national police (DGSN) said it arrested people involved in vandalism, theft and destruction of public and private property.

No heavy clashes were reported but the authorities said some 75 protesters were arrested and 11 policemen were slightly injured during the demonstrations.

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