Heavy security in Algiers for protests against president

AP

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  • Algeria's new prime minister Noureddine Bedoui gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Algeria's new prime minister is promising to create a government within days as the country faces mass protests calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

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    Algeria's Vice Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Algeria's new prime minister is promising to create a government within days as the country faces mass protests calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

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    A teacher holds a placard during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Algerian teachers gathered outside the central post office in the capital Algiers to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay next month's presidential election. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

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    A teacher holds a placard during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Algerian teachers gathered outside the central post office in the capital Algiers to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay next month's presidential election. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

  • Algeria's new prime minister Noureddine Bedoui gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Algeria's new prime minister is promising to create a government within days as the country faces mass protests calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

  • 1

    Algeria's Vice Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra gives a press conference, in Algiers, Algeria, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Algeria's new prime minister is promising to create a government within days as the country faces mass protests calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

  • 2

    A teacher holds a placard during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Algerian teachers gathered outside the central post office in the capital Algiers to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay next month's presidential election. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

  • 3

    A teacher holds a placard during a protest in Algiers, Algeria, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Algerian teachers gathered outside the central post office in the capital Algiers to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay next month's presidential election. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) Riot police vans are lining streets around Algeria's capital and a helicopter is circling as the country braces for what could be decisive protests against longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Students, teachers, judges, unions and others say they are planning to join protests in Algiers and other cities demanding that Bouteflika step down after 20 years in power.

The protesters want to send a mass message that they are rejecting Bouteflika's attempt to defuse Algeria's political crisis.

Bouteflika ceded to protesters' demands that he abandon plans for a fifth term, and promised reforms addressing concerns of frustrated, struggling youth. But he also canceled the April 18 presidential election, allowing him to cling to power indefinitely.

Algerians have barely seen Bouteflika in public since he suffered a 2013 stroke, and many are angry at a power structure seen as shady and corrupt.

  

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