Unrest Marks Algerian Election, as Protesters Boycott the Vote

The protesters who toppled the longtime president say the vote is window dressing for the corrupt officials who still control the country.Crowds in Algiers protested against the election on Thursday, which they saw as an attempt to put a new face on a corrupt system.Credit…Ryad Kramdi/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesDec. 12, 2019Updated 2:28 p.m. ETCrowds…

Unrest Marks Algerian Election, as Protesters Boycott the Vote

The protesters who toppled the longtime president say the vote is window dressing for the corrupt officials who still control the country.Crowds in Algiers protested against the election on Thursday, which they saw as an attempt to put a new face on a corrupt system.Credit…Ryad Kramdi/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesDec. 12, 2019Updated 2:28 p.m. ETCrowds in Algeria sacked voting stations on Thursday and the police used force to break up demonstrations, as the authorities went ahead with a presidential vote in the face of a popular boycott by a movement that toppled a president early this year.The police beat back protesters with truncheons, but large crowds protesting the election continued to assemble in central Algiers. A polling station in the city center was stormed, forcing a temporary suspension of the vote, and unrest was reported around polling stations in the mountainous Kabylie region, traditionally hostile to the authorities.The vote is the first since a popular uprising — mass protests denouncing pervasive corruption — chased out Algeria’s long-ruling president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April. An “interim government” of his former allies was quickly installed, backed by the army.Since then the protesters, who for months have assembled peacefully every week in the streets of Algiers and other cities, have demanded a complete overhaul of what they call “the system” — an end to the careers of all those associated with Mr. Bouteflika, who ruled Algeria for 20 years.Instead, the aging generals who have been the country’s ultimate arbiters for generations, insisted on holding an election that was broadly rejected from the start by much of the population.The strange campaign that followed — empty meeting halls, tight security for candidates, posters torn down everywhere — spoke to what was likely to be a low turnout.The five candidates competing in Thursday’s vote all worked for Mr. Bouteflika, and two served as his prime minister.That, say the protesters, is the problem: the generals are simply trying to recycle the Bouteflika regime, givin
Read More From Publisher