Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the Algerian capital in defiance of a heavy safety presence to demand the removal of the country’s highly effective army chief.

Demonstrators on Friday gathered close to the iconic post workplace square in Algiers, which has been at the centre of the months-old protests that forced longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April following 20 years in energy.

The protesters now want Common Ahmed Gaid Salah, who emerged as an authority figure considering that Bouteflika’s removal, to step down.

“The men and women want the fall of Gaid Salah,” the protesters chanted. “Take us all to prison, the men and women will not quit.”

“We will not quit marching. It is a exclusive chance to alter this corrupt technique,” Adlene Kada, a 23-year-old protester, mentioned at the march.

Friday’s protest marked Algeria’s 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of safety forces in the city centre and along its major avenues.

On Wednesday, Gaid Salah ordered all buses and automobiles bringing protesters into the capital seized, the newest in a series of measures aimed at quelling the weekly demonstrations.

Algeria protest

The army chief has led the push for polls by the finish of 2019 regardless of mass protests demanding political reforms [AFP] 

The hard line on protests came just days following interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika’s departure.

The army chief has led the push for polls by the finish of 2019 regardless of mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president’s loyalists – like Gaid Salah himself – ahead of any vote.

“No vote with the gang!” protesters chanted as helicopters flew overhead, monitoring the protest. “We want a civilian state, not a military state.”

Authorities have made use of a dual method to containing the protests in current months, combining growing stress on the demonstrators with arrests of senior men and women in the ruling elite on corruption charges.

With the election now named, there appears to be tiny alter in that approach, with 3 prominent activists detained more than the previous week and the chief of the former ruling FLN celebration arrested on Thursday.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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