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Algerian protesters demand their ailing president steps down

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Algerian protesters demand their ailing president steps down

Tens of thousands of protesters across Algeria have demanded their president, who turned 82 on Saturday, steps down immediately.

Their anger was triggered after their ailing leader said he'd stand for a fifth term in power in the oil and gas rich North African state.

An election is due on April 18th but Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public.

In the biggest protest in years in the capital Algiers people chanted "Bye, bye Bouteflika!"

The protests after Friday prayers were mostly peaceful, although one report from Al Jazeera on Saturday stated that the son of Algeria's first prime minister died whilst taking part.

A local journalist also reported Hassan Benkhedda's death in a tweet.

Algerians fear their security services and feel disillusioned with the elite that runs the country.

The same group of veterans have dominated Algerian politics since the war of independence with France ended in 1962.

Whilst TV stations reported the protests there was no live coverage.

Bouteflika has yet to address the protesters or the country on the unrest.

The authorities later said he was headed to Geneva for a medical check up.