Ten thousands of Algerians stormed the streets across the country on Friday, to protest, following the decision of President Abdelaziz Boutiflika to seek for re-election for a fifth term. The demonstration started in the previous week, but only gained massive attention after prayers on friday. The citizens of Algeria began to mobilize to protest, on getting the news that the president is contesting for another tenure in the April’s election.
The protesters who were mostly young and male, made pro-democracy chants and slogans such as “no fifth term”, “no bouteflika”, ” no said” and “leave means leave”.
Many also called for the termination of the tenure, journalists, students, and lawyers all joined in this movement.
The police shot rubber bullets and sprayed tear gas in order to repress the protesters and prevent them from getting to the central city of Algiers.
The government also closed down wireless and data networks so as to halt mobilization through social media.
More so, the police detained journalists and arrested demonstrators for disturbance of public order and vandalization. On Thursday, in the parliamentary meeting, Ahmed Ouyahia, the prime minister, blamed the demonstration on outside manipulation.He further warned that more unrest could turn Algeria into another Syria.
The people have also scheduled more protests for Sunday and beyond.
President Boutiflika announced on the 10th of February that he would seek re-election. He justified his candidacy in a letter in which he claimed: ” voices across society once again appeal that I continue with my mission in the service of the country”. The protesters have emerged in their numbers to oppose President Abdelaziz running for a fifth term. However, there is also grievance about alleged corruption of the government and also a very high unemployment rate.
Boutiflika had his 82nd birthday on Saturday and has been reported to be undergoing medical treatments in Geneva. In 2013, the 82-year-old suffered a stroke and has since then been confined to a wheelchair. He is also rarely seen in the public. Amazingly, the mean age of the Algerian protesters is 28 years.
Her Nigerian counterpart had been faced with questions demanding similar reply and yet the youths have shown little or no concern.
For Decades now, we have seen a gross lack of influence of the Nigerian youths in politics. This stems from an indifferent attitude towards governance and has ultimately led to decadence in governance.
A glimmer of hope was inspired in 2017, when 2face Idibia called on the Nigerian youths to protest against bad governance, insecurity, and Unemployment amongst other things. He, however, called off the protest before it’s scheduled date. To the amazement of everyone, he did not provide any reasons for discontinuing the protest plans.
This incidence tells the whole story, the story of the Nigerian youths who are not ready to take the country’s future, and by extension, their own future into their hands. The future of any country rests on the her youths. And hence, the current political disposition of the Nigerian youths begs the question whether the country has a great future.