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    A man gestures and shouts near riot police during a protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plan to extend his 20-year rule by seeking a fifth term in April elections in Algiers, Algeria, March 1, 2019.

    Rallies Against Bouteflika's Bid to Seek Re-Election Resume in Algeria - Reports

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    CAIRO (Sputnik) - Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Algiers on Friday to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intention to seek a fifth term in the April election, the El Watan newspaper reported.

    According to the outlet, people started gathering in the center of the capital before Friday prayers and sermon. As of 2 p.m. local time (13:00 GMT), some areas were already filled with demonstrators. In social networks, users publish photos from the country’s largest cities, such as Oran, Tizi Ouzou, Setif, where residents also took to the streets. In the capital, the police, meanwhile, reportedly used tear gas against demonstrators.

    Ahead of Friday's rallies, special instructions were posted in social networks, urging protesters to refrain from any form of violence toward police officers and try to stay away from them.

    The current demonstrations follow last week’s "Friday of rage" rallies, which demanded that Bouteflika withdraw his candidacy, as many consider him unable to perform duties due to health problems.

    Bouteflika, who has been ruling Algeria since 1999, officially announced his presidential bid on February 10. The 81-year-old president expressed his determination to govern the country for another five years in a written statement, instead of addressing the voters personally.

    READ MORE: Thousands of Students in Algeria Protest President's Reelection Bid

    In 2013, Bouteflika spent several weeks in a hospital in France after suffering a minor stroke. He has been rarely seen in public ever since and uses a wheelchair.

    The election will be held on April 18. The opposition has failed to agree on a common candidate.

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