Algeria protests grow against fifth term for president
Biggest demonstrations since 2011 Arab spring call for a free and democratic Algeria
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Algeria as popular resistance grows to the presidents decision to stand for a fifth term.
Crowds gathered in Algiers throughout the morning despite train services being stopped by authorities, and huge numbers demonstrated in every other major city and most towns. Some chanted slogans calling for a free and democratic Algeria and shouted peaceful, peaceful.
The protests were the biggest in a series staged almost daily since a huge rally on 22 February. So far all have been without violence. They are the largest demonstration of public discontent in Algeria for many decades, with some observers estimating that millions have taken part.
Social media pages told marchers to come equipped only with love, faith, Algerian flags and roses.
On Thursday Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the 82-year-old president who has been in power since 1999, praised demonstrators for their discipline but warned them of unidentified actors who might try to infiltrate their ranks to spread discord and chaos.
The protests have mobilised a wide range of people from all backgrounds. Most of those involved are young but they have received support from journalists, lawyers, unions and the influential association of veterans of the war of independence against the French between 1954 and 1962.
Unusually, one of the most popular imams in Algiers did not pray for the president on Friday and only wished the best for Algeria and its people.
There is widespread resentment in Algeria at the incompetence and corruption of the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), the party that has been in power for more than 50 years. Several FLN parliamentarians resigned on Friday to join the protest movement.
Bouteflika is rarely seen in public and has used a wheelchair since a stroke in 2013. He is in Geneva for medical treatment and it is unclear when he will return.
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