Algeria's Bouteflika warns protests could 'plunge Algeria into chaos'

Algeria's Bouteflika warns protests could 'plunge Algeria into chaos'
Bouteflika has echoed the phrase of many Arab dictators, saying that anti-government protests could lead to chaos in Algeria.
2 min read
07 March, 2019
Algeria's protests have caused shock waves [Getty]


President Abdelaziz Bouteflika warned on Thursday that continued anti-government protest could plunge Algeria into chaos, echoing similar claims made by dictators during the Arab Spring.

The ailing 82-year-old made the comments in response to growing protests calling for him for not to run for a fifth-term as president.

"Many of our fellow citizens" have demonstrated "to peacefully express their views", Bouteflika said, according to the APS news agency.

"However, we must call for vigilance and caution in case this peaceful expression is infiltrated by some insidious party... which could cause chaos."

Bouteflika did not comment on whether he would run for upcoming presidential elections, but is widely expected to seek a fifth term.

He is currently being treated in Switzerland, with questions over his ability to run the country being raised due to his ill-health.

Algeria suffered a decade-long civil war during the 1990s between the government and Islamist militants, which saw hundreds of thousands killed and appalling massacres committed by both sides.

Bouteflika used the memories of this dark days to warn against an escalation in anti-government protests, warning of a return to the "national tragedy" of Algeria's civil war and of the "crises and tragedies caused by terrorism" in neighbouring countries.

Arab dictators have frequently brought up Syria, Libya, and other post-Arab Spring countries to quell unrest at home.

Around 500,000 Syrians are believed to have been killed in the country's civil war, most civilians, and victims of regime bombing and shelling.

There too, the Syrian regime has attempted to blame "infiltrators" among protesters of fermenting turmoil in the country.

Further protests are expected in the build-up to the elections next month.