Algerians Vote in Presidential Elections Amid Mass Protests

Published December 12th, 2019 - 12:27 GMT

Algeria held a presidential election Thursday that has been fiercely opposed by a nine-month-old protest movement and was hit by unrest at several provincial polling stations.

The demonstrators who forced ageing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign his two-decade tenure in April have pushed on with weekly rallies to demand far more sweeping reforms to the political system ahead of any vote.

Shortly after polls opened, attackers "ransacked the ballot boxes and destroyed part of the electoral lists" in the disaffected northern mountain region of Kabylie, home to much of the country's Berber minority, a resident of the city of Bejaia told AFP.

Elsewhere in Kabylie, a large crowd surrounded a polling station in the city of Tizi Ouzou and protesters also took to the streets of Bouira, witnesses said.

View as a slider
View as a list
Algerians cast their votes during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country's election authority said Saturday, amid widespread protests against the vote. STRINGER / AFP

Algerians cast their votes during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country's election authority said Saturday, amid widespread protests against the vote. STRINGER / AFP

No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

The poll will see five candidates, all linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, compete for the top office. But protesters, whose mass mobilisation forced the ex-strongman to resign from his two-decade tenure in April, have rallied weekly to say sweeping reforms must come ahead of any vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

The poll will see five candidates, all linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, compete for the top office. But protesters, whose mass mobilisation forced the ex-strongman to resign from his two-decade tenure in April, have rallied weekly to say sweeping reforms must come ahead of any vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 10, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 10, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algerian security surround protesters during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 11, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algerian security surround protesters during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 11, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algeria's interim president Abdelkader Bensalah casts his vote during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. AFP

Algeria's interim president Abdelkader Bensalah casts his vote during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. AFP

A woman covers her face with the national flag, as Algerian protesters demonstrate in the capital Algiers against ailing president's bid for a fifth term on March 8, 2019. Tens of thousands protested across Algeria today in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos". RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

A woman covers her face with the national flag, as Algerian protesters demonstrate in the capital Algiers against ailing president's bid for a fifth term on March 8, 2019. Tens of thousands protested across Algeria today in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos". RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algerians cast their votes during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country's election authority said Saturday, amid widespread protests against the vote. STRINGER / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
The poll will see five candidates, all linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, compete for the top office. But protesters, whose mass mobilisation forced the ex-strongman to resign from his two-decade tenure in April, have rallied weekly to say sweeping reforms must come ahead of any vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 10, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian security surround protesters during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 11, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algeria's interim president Abdelkader Bensalah casts his vote during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. AFP
A woman covers her face with the national flag, as Algerian protesters demonstrate in the capital Algiers against ailing president's bid for a fifth term on March 8, 2019. Tens of thousands protested across Algeria today in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos". RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerians cast their votes during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country's election authority said Saturday, amid widespread protests against the vote. STRINGER / AFP
Algerians cast their votes during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country's election authority said Saturday, amid widespread protests against the vote. STRINGER / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
The poll will see five candidates, all linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, compete for the top office. But protesters, whose mass mobilisation forced the ex-strongman to resign from his two-decade tenure in April, have rallied weekly to say sweeping reforms must come ahead of any vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
The poll will see five candidates, all linked to ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, compete for the top office. But protesters, whose mass mobilisation forced the ex-strongman to resign from his two-decade tenure in April, have rallied weekly to say sweeping reforms must come ahead of any vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 10, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 10, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian security surround protesters during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 11, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algerian security surround protesters during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on December 11, 2019, ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for December 12. Algeria's contentious presidential election campaign is highlighting the vast gap between youth at the heart of a reformist protest movement and an ageing elite they see as clinging to power. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Algeria's interim president Abdelkader Bensalah casts his vote during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. AFP
Algeria's interim president Abdelkader Bensalah casts his vote during the presidential election on December 12, 2019 at a polling station in Algiers. Five candidates are running in Algeria's presidential election to replace ousted Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. AFP
A woman covers her face with the national flag, as Algerian protesters demonstrate in the capital Algiers against ailing president's bid for a fifth term on March 8, 2019. Tens of thousands protested across Algeria today in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos". RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
A woman covers her face with the national flag, as Algerian protesters demonstrate in the capital Algiers against ailing president's bid for a fifth term on March 8, 2019. Tens of thousands protested across Algeria today in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos". RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote.  RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
No opinion polls have been published but observers expect an extremely low turnout nationwide after months of demonstrations opposing the vote. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP