Algerians poured onto the streets in celebration yesterday night, after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation. This comes after one-and-a-half months of mass protests against his rule. But this alone will not solve anything, and the masses are now calling for the downfall of the whole regime.

On Tuesday (26 March), the old general, Gaid Saleh, appeared again on Algerian state television to read a statement, with great difficulty and many errors. He was keen to start, as usual, by warning the Algerian people that their protests “might be exploited by hostile local and external forces, which resort to suspicious manoeuvres aimed at destabilising the country”, without specifying who these forces are.

As strikes get underway throughout Algeria, the ruling class is yet again retreating in the face of the revolutionary masses. More and more top officials are calling for the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Yesterday, millions of Algerians took to the streets for the fourth consecutive Friday to protest against the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. According to initial accounts, the protests were even bigger than the record protests that shook the regime last Friday (8 March). Long accustomed to carrying out all of its crimes with impunity, the regime is now being forced to realise that the revolutionary masses are not going to give up easily.

Yesterday evening, the streets of Algeria erupted with joy after the announcement that the hated, de facto dictator-for-life was withdrawing from the presidential election scheduled for April. “No fifth term for Bouteflika!” was the rallying cry of the masses for weeks. Now it seems that they have achieved their goal.

Algeria, the sleeping giant of the Arab world, has awoken. In a country where open dissent was rare, tens of thousands have taken to the streets across the country, demanding an end to decades of despotism. This, in a country where street protests have been illegal for decades. What is behind this recent turn of events?

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