Algeria protests against Bouteflika continue despite talks

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Media caption,
Algerians celebrate after president drops fifth term bid

Hundreds of protesters have marched through the Algerian capital demanding President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's immediate resignation.

On Monday, the president postponed the 18 April presidential elections and dropped his bid for a fifth term.

Protesters are accusing the president of a ploy to prolong his 20-year rule.

Talks have been set up to negotiate Algeria's political future, which will be led by veteran UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

Why have the protests continued?

The protesters, who chanted "No tricks, Bouteflika", had responded to calls on social media to continue the protests.

One of the messages said: "We will march more determined than ever to end this system, to end this mafia. We want a republican and democratic state.

"No to manipulation, let's be vigilant. The battle is not won."

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Abdelaziz Bouteflika has led the country for 20 years but has not spoken in public since 2014

On Monday, the president named Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui as the new prime minister to replace Ahmed Ouyahia.

Protesters claimed the move was proof that "those in power want to stay".

BBC North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad said that to satisfy the protesters' demands, a timetable for the president's departure was needed.

What is the aim of the talks?

A conference, which does not yet have a set date, will aim to oversee the country's political transition, draft a new constitution and set the date for elections.

Mr Brahimi, who was the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 14 May 2014, met the president on Monday and said it was necessary to "turn this crisis into a constructive process".

French President Emmanuel Macron said the decision marked a new chapter for Algeria and called for a reasonable transition period.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Lakhdar Brahimi is a member of The Elders, a human rights group made up of world leaders, founded by Nelson Mandela

The Algerian military is expected to play an important role in the transition and is currently considering contenders for president, Reuters news agency reports.

Among them is Mustafa Bouchachi, a lawyer and activist who has built up a strong Facebook following during the protests.

Demonstrators and participants in Algeria's 1954-1962 independence war will be among the representatives at the conference.