Algeria: Bouteflika expected to return to Algeria Sunday night amid protests

Some of Algerian slogans chanted in the capital streets. Photo: RR

NEWSROOM (ADV) – President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to return to Algeria on Sunday after two weeks in a Swiss hospital as he faces mass protests that pose the biggest threat to his 20-year rule.

In the clearest indication yet that the generals sympathize with tens of thousands of Algerians who want Bouteflika to step down, the chief of staff said the military and the people had a united vision of the future, state TV reported. Lieutenant General Gaed Salah did not mention the protests.

An Algerian government plane landed at Geneva’s Cointrin airport earlier on Sunday. The Gulfstream executive jet, the one which had taken Bouteflika to Geneva on February 24, touched down at the airport amid a heavy police presence.

A heavy security deployment was reported between Algiers airport and the presidential residence in Zeralda, outside the capital.

Algerians of all social classes have protested over the past three weeks against Bouteflika’s decision to stand in April’s election.

The ruling FLN party urged all sides to work together to end the political crisis. It wants national reconciliation and to preserve security and stability.

But there are no signs Algerians are prepared to heed that call after rejecting Bouteflika’s offer to limit his term after the election.

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