Algeria buries military chief amid protests

Algeria is holding an elaborate military funeral for the general who was the de facto ruler of the gas-rich country amid political turmoil throughout this year.

Crowds packed the route of the funeral cortege on Wednesday to pay homage to General Ahmed Gaid Salah, who was chief of the armed forces.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>People gather during the funeral of late Algerian military chief Gaid Saleh in Algiers (Fateh Guidoum/AP)</figcaption>
People gather during the funeral of late Algerian military chief Gaid Saleh in Algiers (Fateh Guidoum/AP)

Some people ran alongside the military vehicles and some waved Algerian flags.

Gen Gaid Salah died unexpectedly on Monday after a heart attack, plunging Algeria into new uncertainty after 10 months of pro-democracy protests.

Wednesday’s events include a ceremony at the Palace of the People followed by a burial at the El Alia cemetery alongside others who fought in Algeria’s war for independence from France.

Gen Gaid Salah helped push out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April amid unprecedented, peaceful protests against corruption and Algeria’s secretive power structure.

The military chief then pushed for elections earlier this month, won by a former prime minister considered close to Gen Gaid Salah, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>People attend the funeral of late Algerian military chief Gaid Saleh in Algiers (Fateh Guidoum/AP)</figcaption>
People attend the funeral of late Algerian military chief Gaid Saleh in Algiers (Fateh Guidoum/AP)

Algeria’s military plays a central role in decision-making in this country, a key ally to Western powers in fighting Islamic extremism.

Protesters later turned against Gen Gaid Salah, demanding his departure and a wholesale makeover of Algeria’s political structure.

Students held their regular weekly protests on Tuesday following his death.

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