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Former Algerian president Bouteflika given state funeral By Reuters


© Reuters. An ambulance carrying former President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s coffin heads to El Alia cemetery, Algiers, Algeria, September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina


By Hamid Ould Ahmed

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Former Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ousted in 2019 after mass protests, was given a state funeral on Sunday that was attended by senior officials but received little of the attention given to such occasions in the past.

Bouteflika was 84 years old when he died. A decorated armoured vehicle with flowers and flowers hauled his coffin from Zeralda to Algiers, where it was buried.

Bouteflika, who was elected for the first time in 1999 is well-known for his national reconciliation program that brought peace to an area where 200,000 were killed in a conflict with Islamist armed militias.

However, many Algerians blame him because of the economy stagnation during his final years as president. After suffering from strokes, he wasn’t seen much in public and was corrupted to loot tens and billions of dollar, a state that relies heavily on large oil and gas resources.

In April 2019, he was forced to resign following mass demonstrations that rejected his bid for fifth term. They also demanded political and economic reforms.

Bouteflika and his family were joined by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, many current ministers and military personnel.

The funeral was not covered by state media. State television also did not broadcast the ceremony as they had shown the funerals for past presidents.

Bouteflika had the ability to make use of high-energy prices’ export earnings to repay foreign debt. He also managed to keep subsidies spending at high levels in order to prevent social unrest.

Bouteflika’s years were good. Mohamed Hachi, a schoolteacher, said that Bouteflika accomplished many major projects and got rid of the nation’s foreign debt. He also brought back peace.

His stroke and the decline in energy prices led to a difficult period.

Djamel Harchi, a state bank employee said that during Bouteflika’s time there was a horrible spread of corruption. This happened until he was removed from power.

Many former top officials have been imprisoned since Bouteflika, a protest movement called Hirak, forced him to resign in April 2019.

After the March 2020 coronavirus pandemic, thousands continued to march on the streets in support of their leaderless group until police banned them from holding rallies.

Bouteflika was an active fighter during the 1954-1962 war which ended French colonial rule.

Bouteflika was Algeria’s first foreign Minister and was also a force behind the Non-Aligned Movement which provided a voice for many countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

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