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For the past four weeks, young Algerians have been leading a movement against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s attempt to extend his 20-year rule. And despite him making a March 11 announcement that he would not run for a fifth term, protests have continued. Hundreds of thousands took part in demonstrations on Friday demanding Bouteflika go.
The movement has been led by Algerian students and others who believe their government does not understand the needs of a country where half of its citizens are under the age of 30. In response, Bouteflika has called for a “national dialogue” conference with civil society groups before the next elections take place.
Bouteflika is credited with bringing stability to Algeria after its civil war in the 1990s, but since suffering a stroke in 2013, the 82-year-old president has rarely been seen and has not given a public address in years. A framed portrait of Bouteflika stands in for the leader at public events. Critics of the government say he is a figurehead that serves the interests of Algeria’s elites.
Elections that were previously planned for April 18 have still not been rescheduled. In this episode, we’ll hear more about the movement for reform in Algeria and what type of future Algerians want for their country.
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