Protesters clash with police in Algeria over Bouteflika's re-election bid

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‘The state murders’ – that was the rallying cry for hundreds of young protesters in Algeria on Thursday to demonstrate against the country’s presidential elections

The unrest around 120 kilometres east of Algiers in the village of Rafour, saw small scale clashes against the authorities.

‘‘We are not supporting anyone, we are neither with the candidate (Abdelaziz) Bouteflika nor with (Ali) Benflis. We are fed up with this authoritarian system, we are fed up with everything in Algeria,’‘ said one young man.

Another nearby town reported burnt ballot boxes. The protest area is a stronghold of the RCD opposition party, which boycotted the vote.

One protester said: ‘‘People completely reject this election. It is not an election, it’s a farce.’‘

Despite that opposition, Algeria’s current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has held power for 15 years, is widely tipped to win.
Earlier on Thursday the ailing leader made a rare public appearance to cast his vote.

Bouteflika’s main opposition rival is Ali Benflis. Well behind in the polls, the former prime minister has warned of ballot fraud this time round, vowing not to tolerate any attempt to rig the vote.

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