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Why Algeria’s Election Probably Won’t Stop Months of Protests

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algerians have been on the streets for 10 months straight protesting corruption, economic failure, and their government. But in recent weeks those marches have become directed at the very thing that was supposed to calm them down: a presidential election.

Remarkably, the demonstrations have remained peaceful, and security forces haven’t unleashed deadly violence. But while they’re restrained, the protesters are also very angry — and no longer satisfied with gestures aimed at quelling unrest. They are after radical changes: a full upheaval of the country’s leadership and power structure.

“We’re going to stay on the streets, we’ll keep protesting until the end of time!” Amina, a demonstrator, told VICE News.

To date, their biggest success of their weekly protests was the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who stepped down in April.

But soon after, protesters turned their attention to the entire regime. When the protests continued raging, the government started arresting prominent businessmen and ex-premieres. But demonstrators wouldn’t stop, even after they put two ex-premieres on trial.

While national polls are scheduled to open Thursday, some protesters already they won’t accept any outcome because all the candidates running were allied with Bouteflika’s regime.

“We are here so they don’t repeat the old system. The system just repeats itself, we’ve had enough,” protester Mohamed Habib told VICE News.

Cover: Demonstrators take to the streets in the capital Algiers to protest against the government and reject the upcoming presidential elections, in Algeria, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)