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Source£ºHuangshinews    Updated£º2020-03-29 16:09:34


Modern Algeria had a rough start. Sixty years ago, it?revolted  from?France. Then In the 1990s, the Algerian army crushed an Islamist?insurgency.?The  military chose Abdelaziz Bouteflika?as its  leader. President Bouteflika is still in charge today. He and the country thrived on the boom in oil. He has been an autocrat who enriched all the people and groups that supported  him. Then in 2014, the prices of oil and gas exports started falling. These exports?accounted?for 97 percent of  Algeria¡¯s exports. Unemployment among the young hit hard. The government cut social  benefits. Algerians now have had enough of what they call the ¡°power.¡± The power includes the high-ranking officials, wealthy businessmen and military officers who run the country. During his two decades in office,?President  Bouteflika has never given an interview. ?He had a?stroke in 2013. Now,?even his body has   disappeared. He has people see his framed portrait?in public appearances. ?Algerians call it ¡°the frame.¡± An official said the Bouteflika system stems from?patronage and corruption. With high oil prices, ¡°Money flowed like water. There was corruption in bidding and easy access to?bank loans. People got rich on public  money.¡± Under?pressure, President Bouteflika said he would not run for a fifth term. His statement was not enough for the people of Algeria. Thousands of protesters have gone into the streets to  demonstrate against his  government. The protesters¡¯ demands are clear. After two decades of his reign, they say, Mr. Bouteflika, his clan and his system must go. The 82-year-old Bouteflika sits in a wheelchair. He is mute, paralyzed  and just able to move his hands. He has not  given a speech?since his stroke. He has not uttered  a single word in public. The demonstrations have grown larger every week. They seem unstoppable. Algeria is the largest country in Africa. It was?a rare pillar of stability in the Arab world. It now faces an uncertain future. It is hard to believe the existing government will let go of what they have had in  the past. An observer said, ¡°The clan that governs this country isn¡¯t going to just let go just like that. It is a question of life or death for them.¡± The central demand of the protesters is that the whole  Bouteflika system must go. Experts say that would be hardest to meet. Eliminating ¡°the system¡± would mean?undoing a  web of corruption. It consists of thousands of people  built up over the years. Algerians have a head of steam.  A middle-class man said, ¡°Our parents made the revolution. For us, at least we will be  able to say, we tried. We can¡¯t just say to our children; we were cowards.¡± State media is now reporting on the protests. ¡°The Street Is Not Backing Down¡± was the banner headline in the daily?Liberty?on this past Wednesday. The question yet to be answered? Will reforms for justice work? Source: The New York  Times March 24, 4019 im. )

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