Further protests are planned for Sunday, March 3, across Algeria following record turnout at demonstrations on Friday, March 1. Tens of thousands of people attended protests on Friday after midday prayers against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's assumed bid for his fifth presidential term. Security forces clashed with protesters and fired tear gas in the Algiers neighborhood of Belcourt and near the presidential palace, though other locations remained peaceful. It is unclear how large the Sunday protests will be, though thousands of people are likely to attend demonstrations in Oran, Constantine, Setif, Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, and other 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.
March 3 is the deadline for candidates to register for the presidential election scheduled for April 18. The latest protest movement is in response to the assumed campaign for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999, to be reelected for a fifth term. In early February, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) officially nominated President Abdelazai Bouteflika as their candidate. 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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