Algerian Military's Patience Wearing Thin With Daily Protests

(Bloomberg) -- Algeria’s army chief of staff on Tuesday signaled a growing weariness with protesters demanding the removal of the country’s entire leadership, warning that attempts to block officials from doing their jobs wouldn’t be tolerated.

The remarks by General Ahmed Gaid Salah appeared directed at demonstrators calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui and those opposed to the new interim president.

Salah, who threw his influence behind the protesters and helped evict longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office, said authorities had also uncovered evidence of “plots” to derail the OPEC member’s transition to democracy.

Algeria’s people and the army must stand firm against “the outlandish” efforts to prevent officials from carrying out their duties, Salah said in the latest of his near-daily speeches from army bases around the country.

The protests that ousted the 82-year-old Bouteflika were peaceful and authorities have resisted the kind direct military intervention that violently broke up demonstrations in post-Arab Spring Egypt and other affected countries. But Salah’s remarks were the most bellicose yet against attempts to push from office newly-minted leaders seen as close to Bouteflika.

Expressing tacit support for interim President Abdelkader Bensalah, the military chief admonished those “who don’t want what is good for Algeria” and boycotted the first round of dialogue hosted by the presidency this week.

Salah, who’s viewed with some suspicion by many of the overwhelmingly young protesters, also praised the judiciary for launching investigations into several top businessmen. He had earlier called for such a step amid a push to purge the country of the “gang,” a reference to Bouteflika cronies.

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