Algeria protests: Police use water cannon to disperse demonstrators

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Algerian police have used water cannon to disperse protesters demonstrating against Abdelkader Bensalah’s appointment as interim president.

Bensalah, the speaker of parliament’s upper house, succeeds President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned last week following weeks of peaceful demonstrations.

But many want more radical change. Bensalah, who will be in power until a presidential election, pledged to work in the interests of the people.

Protesters have called for an end to the “system” (AFP Photo_

“I need everyone during this period in our country to apply the constitution strictly, to work hard, faithfully and with dedication in order to return as soon as possible the word to the people,” he told members of parliament after he was appointed. He is due to be in office for 90 days.

As soon as the appointment of Bensalah was announced, protesters took to the streets of the capital, Algiers, demanding “Bensalah go”. The 77-year-old is seen as being very close to the ailing former president, who had been in power for 20 years.

From the start of the protests in February, the demonstrators have not just been focusing on Bouteflika, Algeria analyst James McDougall told the BBC.

Placards and online posts have been demanding an end to the “system”, or “Le Pouvoir”, meaning that all those around the former president should also go.

The allegation was that Bouteflika was used as a front for a group of businessmen, politicians and military officials, who are said to really run the country.

The protests have been peaceful and the security forces have not used heavy-handed tactics to break them up. (BBC)

 

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