Protests erupted in the capital Algiers in Algeria against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
president who has been in power for two decade is submitting his candidacy for
a fifth term.
He is on a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since 2013.
He was at the weekend still in Switzerland for medical check ups.
Hundreds of students gathered inside a university campus where presidential candidates file their papers.
They chanted slogans “No to a fifth term!”
Protesters have been mobilized by calls on social media.
Many of the young
Algerians are struggling for employment in a country where half the population
is under 30.
Protests in other higher education institutions and cities such as Oran were reported.
Algeria, the North
African country is a major producer of oil and natural gas.
An editorial in a local newspaper suggested that Bouteflika would not pull out of the race under pressure from the street.
It also wrote the protesters will be “disappointed”.
respect for his role in ending a civil war in the 1990s which according to
official figures killed nearly 200,000 people.
Other than the common Algerians and students, protesters include lawyers.
The scale of the protests has surprised many in Algeria and represents the biggest challenge in years to the authorities.
Riot police fired tear gas at the protesters.
The police also used batons to keep them at bay and also threw stones at them which the demonstrators had initially hurled at the police.
Around 56 police officers and seven demonstrators were hurt and 45 were arrested.
Officials have warned that the protests risk dragging Algeria into instability.
The prime minister is comparing the rallies to those that sparked a civil war in Syria.