Algeria's Army Chief Sounds Warning as Protest Anger Lingers

(Bloomberg) -- Algeria’s military chief warned “enemies” of the state against sowing further unrest, while stressing that the army’s relationship with the people was unshakable.

In his first public remarks since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika withdrew his bid for a fifth term, General Ahmed Gaid Salah emphasized that the country’s unity and security were a sacred responsibility. “I feel constant pride over the profound trust between the people and its army,” he said in televised comments.

Protesters who first took to the streets on Feb. 22 haven’t been appeased by Bouteflika’s withdrawal, or his decision to cancel the April election and promise to draft a new constitution. The largely student-led rallies initially erupted in opposition to the president’s candidacy, but have since widened to encompass the ruling elite and its coterie of backers known as “le pouvoir.”

The North African oil and gas producer avoided the Arab Spring uprisings that roiled the region in 2011. But with the collapse of oil prices in 2014, it found itself unable to sustain the generous subsidy system that placated the a majority youth population.

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