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Algeria top official quits as students keep up protest

AFP  |  Algiers 

In yet more upheaval for since the ousting of long-time leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the of the country's constitutional council quit Tuesday bowing to weeks of anger from protesters.

Tayeb Belaiz's resignation was announced by state television and comes as the council prepares to oversee a

The 70-year-old is one of the "3B" top figures targeted by demonstrators in mass rallies which prompted the departure of Bouteflika this month.

and -- who served as upper until being appointed after Bouteflika quit -- have also faced calls to step down.

"We will continue what we have started," said university student Linda, one of thousands taking part in a protest Tuesday in central

Police were massively deployed around the capital's post office building, the focal point of anti-government rallies which first erupted in February.

"Free Algeria," chanted protests, who rallied outside the iconic building.

Despite Bensalah calling a on July 4, demonstrations have continued as Algerians call for a broader overhaul of the political system.

The has defended his appointment, but protesters are demanding regime stalwarts be entirely excluded from any political transition.

"We will continue to march until a transitional (authority) led by clean politicians is set up," medical student told AFP.

"The people want them all to leave," chanted the crowds, in reference to the interim authorities.

Demonstrators fear that the election will not be free and fair if they are held under the same judicial framework and institutions as those of the Bouteflika regime.

The said his appointment was in line with constitutional rules, and pledged to hold a transparent vote.

The constitutional council which Belaiz resigned from plays a key role in elections, vetting candidates and ensuring the regularity of the polls.

The outgoing was close to Bouteflika, who was shown handing his resignation letter to Belaiz in footage broadcast by

The had on February 10 appointed his Belaiz -- who has also served as -- to head the constitutional council for the second time.

The same day Bouteflika announced he would seek a fifth term in polls initially scheduled for April, despite rarely being seen in public since a 2013

His bid to cling to power sparked mass demonstrations which spread nationwide and ultimately prompted the president to resign on April 2 after two decades in power.

Despite Bouteflika's resignation, Algerians have kept up their demonstrations to call for a broad overhaul of the political system.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 21:20 IST