Algerians are in a celebratory mood following Tuesday’s resignation of ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose bid to seek a fifth term in February sparked mass protests.

Hundreds took to the streets of the capital after state media announced the 82-year-old’s departure, capping a wave of protests demanding the removal of an aging elite seen by many as out of touch with ordinary people and presiding over an economy riven by cronyism.

Bouteflika’s supporters had sought to stop the dissent by telling Algerians not to return to the dark days in the 90s when some 200,000 were killed in civil war, warning even of a scenario like in Syria, embroiled in an eight-year-long conflict.

Only one person was confirmed to have died during the protests, a man around 60 years old who suffered a heart attack, with most rallies peaceful and with protesters cleaning up the streets before going home.

Bouteflika explains resignation

Bouteflika announced he was standing down in a one-sentence statement carried by state news agency APS, followed by a letter – his primary means of communication since suffering a stroke in 2013 and disappearing from public view.

Source : REUTERS

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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