President Bouteflika Returns Home in Algeria amid Protests

 

March 11, 2019

 

Today marks day 18 of ongoing protests in Algeria to urge Bouteflika to step back from the 2019 election. But will it happen?

Algerians protesting against Bouteflika re-election

 

By Safaa Kasraoui
Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News.

 

Rabat – A plane carrying President Abdelaziz Bouteflika landed in Algeria yesterday. The 2019 election candidate had been in Geneva for medical care.

Bouteflika’s plane landed in Algeria in the midst of weeks of protests, involving both adults and minors, who have been condemning Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth mandate for more than two weeks now.

March 8 marked the beginning of the third week of protests with hundreds of thousands of Algerians taking to the streets calling for Bouteflika to remove himself as a candidate in the election.

Under pressure from protesters, the government ordered the shutdown of universities across the country ahead of a scheduled holiday, according to Al Jazeera.

Read Also: Dozens Injured in Algeria’s Anti-Bouteflika Protests

Algeria’s Ministry of Education did not explain the decision, announcing that the spring holiday would start 10 days earlier than before.

Throughout the weeks of protests, which erupted on February 22, students have been on the street to lead peaceful demonstrations.

In addition to the protests in Algeria, thousands of people marched in a demonstration in Paris and in other French cities on Sunday against Bouteflika’s campaign.

Rachid Nekkaz, a well-known businessman opposing Bouteflika, attended the Paris protest.

On Friday, Swiss police arrested Nekkaz when he attempted to check on Bouteflika’s health situation at the Geneva University Hospital. A police spokesperson, Joanna Matta, said that the hospital filed a complaint against Nekkaz for trespassing.

In an interview with France 24 yesterday, Nekkaz said that every Algerian has the right to know the president’s health status, and the government should not keep it a secret.

Other people also protested in front of the Geneva University Hospital.

Speaking at the gathering, Nekkaz said there are “40 million Algerians who want to know where the president is.”

The Algerian-French businessman had attempted to submit his candidacy for presidency. Nekkaz complained that the Constitutional Council refused his candidacy because he holds French citizenship. In response, the businessman renounced his French citizenship and had his cousin of the same name submit his candidacy.

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