Sixth Friday mass protest in Algeria demands fall of the regime
30 March 2019
Millions poured into the streets of Algeria’s major cities yesterday, for a sixth Friday protest demanding the fall of the military-backed National Liberation Front (FLN) regime.
It came after General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, the head of the Algerian armed forces, called on March 26 to apply Article 102 of Algeria’s constitution to remove the regime’s hated figurehead, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, on health grounds. Protesters rejected Salah’s sudden intervention to remove Bouteflika, who has been incapacitated since suffering a stroke in 2013. Instead, they demanded the bringing down of both the FLN and the army.
Banners carried at the protests read “Rest in Peace Gaïd Salah, leave power for the love of God,” “Gaïd Salah the people want democracy not a military regime,” and “Shame on you Gaïd Salah.” Another popular slogan was to demand the application of Article 7 of the constitution, which stipulates that power should come from the people.
Over a million people marched in Algiers, according to police reports, and thousands or tens of thousands marched in other major Algerian cities including Oran, Constantine, Annaba, Béjaïa, Tizi Ouzou, Sétif, Tlemcen and Sidi Bel Abbès. In Oran, protesters chanted “The transition must be led by the sovereign people and not the regime.” In Tlemcen, protesters chanted “Out, Out Saïd,” referring to Abdelmajid Sidi Saïd, the leader of the corrupt, FLN-linked General Union of Algerian Labor (UGTA) union.
In Algiers, huge throngs of people marched through the city’s major centers including Maurice Audin Square and outside the Main Post Office. Protesters also clashed during the afternoon with riot police, who…