Algeria: “we will not vote”, protesters remain firm

For the usual protests in Algeria, several hundred citizens voted against the December election on Tuesday.

We will not vote until the regime’s men are dismissed,” chanted demonstrators in opposition to the vote scheduled in three months. The announcement by the interim president, Abdelkader Ben Salah, of the holding of the presidential elections in December, set in motion a new phase of confrontation between the demonstrators and the state. Mass strikes broke out in February, forcing veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to withdraw in April, and have since continued weekly to demand a more complete cleansing of the ruling elite.

The caretaker government has put in place several measures to calm tensions. Several senior officials of the Bouteflika era were arrested and charged with corruption. But the authorities have begun to exert more pressure on demonstrators, arresting opposition leaders and deploying more police during demonstrations. The powerful army chief, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Saleh, called for months of elections, saying that this was the only way out of the impasse.

After Bouteflika

Depuis la démission de Bouteflika, moins de personnes ont assisté aux manifestations hebdomadaires mardi et vendredi, mais les manifestants qui ont défilé ont rejeté toutes les élections pour le moment, affirmant qu’il ne pouvait y avoir de vote juste pendant que la vieille garde conservait le pouvoir.

Whether it is the announcement of the presidential election on Sunday, or the increased presence of police during the demonstrations, will this calm the demonstrations or rekindle their momentum, it will probably become evident during the parades in the coming weeks.

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