Abdelaziz Bouteflika: Ailing president returns to warning from Algerian army

Abdelaziz Bouteflika: Ailing president returns to warning from Algerian army

The president's office announced in a statement on Sunday evening, cited by the official press agency APS, that Bouteflika had returned to Algeria on Sunday after two weeks in hospital in Geneva following "periodic medical examinations". The announcement that he meant to run for office for a fifth term triggered widespread protests in the country - now in their third week.

The 82-year-old has already been in power for 20 years and now wants a 5th term. Amid the rallies, Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013 and has since been bound to a wheelchair, pledged that if he is re-elected, to call snap vote in which he wouldn't participate as a candidate in order to ensure a transition to a new president.

A plane carrying the leader landed at Boufarik military airport near the capital, Algiers, as the protests against his intention to stand continued.

A general strike Sunday was taking place as the president arrived, with numerous shops in Algiers and other cities closed.

Algerians also expressed anger over corruption that put their country's oil and gas riches in the hands of a few while millions of young people struggle to find jobs.

A number of protests have also been staged in Switzerland against the Algerian president since he arrived in the country.

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In a third week of protests on Friday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Algiers calling for change in the biggest demonstration yet against Bouteflika.

In the clearest indication yet that the generals sympathise with protesters, the country's most powerful military figure said the military and the people had a united vision of the future, state TV reported.

Peaceful nationwide protests began February 22 to protest Bouteflika's plan to run for a fifth term in April 18 elections.

Algerian workers are holding scattered walkouts and students are gathering for protests as their tense nation waits to see whether ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offers any concessions in the face of unprecedented protests. Similar marches were held across the country.

The plane, one of several executive jets owned by the Algerian government, left Algiers just before 0700 GMT on Sunday.

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