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  • Citizens take part in a protest to demand for the presidential election to be cancelled, in Algiers, Algeria, Dec. 6, 2019.

    Citizens take part in a protest to demand for the presidential election to be cancelled, in Algiers, Algeria, Dec. 6, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 December 2019

Algerian citizens, who have been protesting since Feb. 22, called a nationwide general strike for Sunday.

Thousands marched in different cities of Algeria to demand the presidential election scheduled for Dec. 12 to be canceled. They took to the streets on the 42nd consecutive Friday of protests against the "shadowy" ruling elite, which has been controlling Algeria since its independence in 1962.

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"Down with the military regime!", "We want a civil state and a true transition!" and "No to the elections as long as the mafia remains in the government!" were some of the most chanted slogans.

Also, Algerian citizens, who have been protesting since Feb. 22, called a nationwide general strike for Sunday.

In Algiers and other cities such as Oran, Tizi Ouzu or Constantine, citizens walked the streets guarded by thousands of police and secret service agents.

As the people shouted "Civil state!", they raised small red cards reading "NO to the elections!", which was today's most notorious protests symbol.

"Keeping a smile but with determination, we have been rejecting every Friday the elections they intend to impose on us. We don't stop now. This is just the beginning," a 50-year-old Berber woman Zina said.

"There will be no elections as long as the mafia remains in power. Our problem is with a system that has looted all the people's wealth. When the mafia is really eradicated, I will vote," said Zuhir Touahri, an accountant who works in a state hydrocarbons company.

The protests are directed against Army chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, who has become the country's new strongman.

At the end of March, he accelerated the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had ruled Algeria for two consecutive decades.

Immediately after his resignation, Gaed Salah launched a "clean hands" campaign, which put dozens of politicians, senior officers, businessmen, journalists and other "Bouteflika clan" members in jail.

One of them is General Mohamad Mediane, who led Algeria's secret services for 25 years.

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