Algerian protest leaders tell army to stay away

  • Wednesday 20, March 2019 07:56 AM
Sharjah 24 - Reuters: Thousands of students, university professors and health workers rallied in Algiers on Tuesday calling for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, and a new group headed by activists and opposition figures told the army not to interfere.
In the first direct public message to the generals from leaders emerging from nearly a month of mass protests against Bouteflika, the National Coordination for Change said the military should "play its constitutional role without interfering in the people's choice".

Bouteflika, who has ruled for 20 years, bowed to the protesters last week by announcing he would not stand for another term. But he stopped short of stepping down and said he would stay in office until a new constitution is adopted, effectively extending his present term.

His moves have done nothing to halt demonstrations, which peaked on Friday with hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of Algiers and have continued into this week.

The 82-year-old president has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, and protesters say he is too old and frail to rule.