ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Riot police vans are lining streets around Algeria’s capital and a helicopter is circling as the country braces for what could be decisive protests against longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Students, teachers, judges, unions and others said they are planning to join protests in Algiers and other cities demanding that Bouteflika step down after 20 years in power.
The protesters want to send a mass message that they are rejecting Bouteflika’s attempt to defuse Algeria’s political crisis.
Bouteflika ceded to protesters’ demands that he abandon plans for a fifth term, and promised reforms addressing concerns of frustrated, struggling youth. But he also cancelled the April 18 presidential election, allowing him to cling to power indefinitely.
Algerians have barely seen Bouteflika in public since he suffered a 2013 stroke, and many are angry at a power structure seen as shady and corrupt.