Police in Algeria‘s capital have fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of students protesting against the appointment of a new interim president who is a part of the ruling order they have been seeking to remove.
The demonstration in central Algiers on Tuesday took place as parliament officially confirmed upper house Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah as acting head of state for the next 90 days to replace Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned last week under pressure from the weeks-long, youth-led protests.
Footage showed security forces moving in on the demonstrators shouting “out with the system”, dousing them with pepper spray, shooting from a water cannon and using batons to break up the crowd.
Bensalah’s appointment is in accordance with Algeria’s constitution but the protesters who drove Bouteflika out after 20 years in office are unsatisfied with the move because he is a key ally of the former president and a seasoned establishment insider.
Naming a new interim president allows the country to organise elections.
Bensalah, who cannot run in the polls, does not have the support of the opposition parties, which abstained from Tuesday’s session in parliament.
“I am required by national duty to take on this heavy responsibility of steering a transition that will allow the Algerian people to exercise its sovereignty,” Bensalah said.