Algerians Continue Friday Protests Against Presidential Election Backed By Army

Algerian protesters came out on the streets in huge numbers chanting slogans on Friday demanding the army to make an exit from politics, resignation the ruling elite, an end to corruption, and the freeing of opposition leaders, reported France 24.

The fresh protests in the capital Algiers and several other cities sparked after a prominent independent cleric urged people to vote in a December election backed by the army. The Algerian military chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, said in early September that presidential elections must be held before the end of the year. Salah and the military has become the country’s de-facto ruler since Bouteflika’s resignation.

 Salah claims December’s presidential election is the only way to quell the protests and end the constitutional limbo that has prevailed since president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stood down in April.

 Demonstrators have rejected the election, arguing that the elections could not be free or fair while Bouteflika’s allies and military leaders maintain senior positions in the government.

On Wednesday, a well-known conservative cleric, Sheikh Lakhdar Zaoui, published a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, saying a Muslim country could not be leaderless.

“When Prophet Mohammed died, he was not buried until a successor was designated by his companions,” he said.

Last month, another cleric, Sheikh Chemseddine Bouroubi, who runs a daily television show “Please Advise Me” that answers people’s queries about religion, said it was forbidden for Algeria to have no president.

Since Bouteflika’s resignation in April, the Algerian authorities have resorted to various tactics to put an end to the demonstrations, which included arresting Bouteflika allies on corruption charges. But, the protesters aren’t contended with the action taken by the army as they say the arrests so far are not enough.

They are demanding that the rest of the ruling elite be removed including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Nouredine Bedoui.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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