Algeria: a presidential under tension, two polled centers destroyed in Kabylia

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Two polling centers were ransacked this Thursday in Béjaïa, a large city in the rebellious Algerian region of Kabylia (north), by opponents of the presidential election which began in the morning, residents reported.

These opponents "ransacked ballot boxes and destroyed part of the electoral lists", reported these witnesses, contacted by from Algiers.

After practically ten months of a massive and unprecedented popular protest having won the president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algerians elect this Thursday his successor, during a presidential perceived as a maneuver of survival of the regime.

Contrasting situation

The approximately 61,000 polling stations opened at 8 a.m. across the country. National television shows images of voters lining up in front of offices in several regions.

In Algiers, the situation seems to be mixed: in Bab el Oued, a hundred voters, including many young people, were in a hurry at the opening and unexpectedly at the main polling station in this popular district, noted a journalist. But attendance seems low in other offices, such as the Pasteur college in the center of the capital, the Mohamed Zekal school in the Belouizdad district (ex-Belcourt) or in the offices of El Achour and Staouéli, western suburbs of 'Algiers, according to AFP journalists.

The "Hirak", an anti-regime movement born on February 22 and having obtained the resignation in April of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, remains fiercely opposed to this election which the government, in the hands of the army, wants to organize at all costs. The movement denounces an “electoral masquerade”, demands the end of the “system” in power since independence in 1962 and the departure of all those who supported or took part in the 20 years of presidency of the outgoing president.

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