Algeria protesters stage first mass rally of Ramadan

Algeria protesters

Protesters thronged Algeria’s capital for the first Friday mass rally of Ramadan, pressing their demands for reforms and the departure of key figures from ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime.

Demonstrators braved blazing sunshine to take to the streets en masse following the first weekly prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. 

Many were draped in Algerian flags as they blocked the roads around the capital’s main post office square, the epicentre of the protest movement which was launched in February and led to Bouteflika’s fall on April 2.

“It’s really hot, it’s hard to march when you can’t drink water,” said Samir Asla, 58, standing in the shade of a tree.

But despite the hardships, demonstrators have vowed to keep up the pressure, particularly on army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, a former Bouteflika loyalist and key powerbroker.