Today: Thursday, 23 May 2024 year

Algeria: President Bouteflika returns to country amid mass protests

Algeria: President Bouteflika returns to country amid mass protests

A plane carrying Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika arrived Boufarik military airport in the vicinities of Algiers, BBC reported. The national leader has rarely been seen in public since 2013 due to his health status after a stroke, however, he is planning to take part in the upcoming presidential race again.

President Bouteflika has returned to Algeria from Geneva, Switzerland where he was spending two weeks in a hospital. During his absence, the mass protests started in the capital and several cities across the country. Mr Bouteflika has commented on the situation, saying that the demonstrations could plunge the country into “chaos”.

A spokesman for the Geneva University Hospitals said that it had received 1,500 phone calls on Tuesday after the president’s location was revealed by French television programme Quotidien.

The 82-year-old president had a stroke in 2013, after that he has rarely been seen in public. Despite his respectable age and fragile health, Mr Bouteflika announced that he would stand for re-election next month. That decision sparked huge protests across Algeria, the motive power of demonstrations are students and youth. Many who demonstrated that day initially gathered at university sites before heading onto the streets.

The mass protests, which have seen tens of thousands of people take part, are thought to represent the biggest threat so far to Mr Bouteflika’s 20-year rule. Thousands of students have spilt out into the streets of Algiers, waving the Algerian flag and chanting: “Bouteflika, there will be no fifth term.”