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'Joyful' pro-reform rallies has crowds on streets in Algeria

media Keeping up the pressure. Anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on 5 April, 2019. AFP

Protestors turned out  on Friday in Algiers and in 41 of the 48 provinces in the country to keep pressur on for political reforms, and a change in government. This comes after the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika five days ago.

Messages across social media had called for "joyful demonstrations" on Friday The aims was to "peacefully bring down a dictatorial regime".

Images from central Algiers showed huge crowds draped in, or waving Algerian flags. No official figures of attendance are available as yet. However, the images suggest as many people took to the streets Friday as in previous weeks, calling for Bouteflika to step down after two decades in power.

The protestors are now calling for the former leader's close entourage to follow his lead.

Boualem, a shop keeper in Algiers was demonstrating with his teenage daughter and told RFI reporter, Leila Beratto:

"The president may have gone but that doesn't mean the system has gone. The system is still there. And just before the president resigned they made sure the system would continue. So we say, the system has to go!" he said.

Opponents of the old regime have three men in their sights: Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, Senate speaker Abdelkader Bensalah and Tayeb Belaiz, head of the constitutional council.

They are supposed to oversee political transition after the president finally stepped down at the age of 82 late Tuesday.

Bensalah is to take over as interim president for three months. He has been the upper house speaker for 16 years.

Opponents say that 90 days is not enough to prepare the country for elections, and they reject the credibility of the the three Bouteflika loyalists tasked with organising them.

Meanwhile according to Algeria's official news agency, APS, the Algerian intelligence services chief Athmane Tartag has been sacked.


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