Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets nationwide on Friday, March 1, to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In Algiers, security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators near the presidential palace and parliament building on Friday afternoon (local time), while large crowds were reported in other urban centers, including Oran, Constantine, Setif, Tizi Ouzou, and Bouira. Monitoring groups have also reported targeted internet service shutdowns during protests, particularly in major cities.
Activists are also planning a general strike and associated protests on Sunday, March 3, as President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to formally submit his application for candidacy to the Constitutional Council. Businesses are expected to be closed from 14:00 to 16:00 during the strike, although closures are likely to extend beyond this period. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions (e.g. transportation, commercial, internet service) are likely during protests. Similar political rallies and protests are expected to continue until the April 18 elections. Further clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
The latest protest movement is in response to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's campaign to be reelected for a fifth term; presidential elections are set for April 18. In early February, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) officially nominated President Abdelazai Bouteflika as their candidate. Bouteflika is seeking his fifth presidential term and has been in power since 1999. There is widespread discontent with Bouteflika's economic policies, lack of public appearances following a stroke in 2013, and repression of speech. Public demonstrations in Algeria, banned since 2001, are usually rare and are often met with a heavy security presence.
Individuals in Algeria are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate business and transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, and refrain from discussing political subjects in public or on social media.
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