Algeria gives disgraced ex-leader Bouteflika 3-days mourning

Algeria’s leader has declared a three-day period of mourning for former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose 20-year-long rule ended in disgrace as he was pushed from power amid huge street protests when he decided to seek a new term

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria’s leader declared a three-day period of mourning starting Saturday for former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose 20-year-long rule, riddled with corruption, ended in disgrace as he was pushed from power amid huge street protests when he decided to seek a new term.

Bouteflika, who had been ailing since a stroke in 2013, died Friday at 84. His public appearances had been rare in the final years of his presidency, and he had not been seen since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune took office in late 2019.

Flags are to fly at half-staff during the mourning period, the president’s office said. The honors reflect Bouteflika’s role in Algeria’s brutal seven-year war for independence from France that ended in 1962. Those who fought are considered martyrs today.

The former president’s lawyer, Salim Salim Hadjouti, said Bouteflika was being laid to rest in an official ceremony at El Alia cemetery, in the section where martyrs of the revolution for independence are buried, a special honor.

Since Bouteflika’s death, public television has not shown images of him, a clear sign that authorities prefer not to go overboard with a farewell as the North African nation has turned past the Bouteflika era. Early on in his mandate, Tebboune announced his policy of a “new Algeria.”

Tebboune has led a fight against the corruption, including in the Bouteflika clan as it emerged that a close circle of officials around the president were enriching themselves and allegedly making decisions in the place of the ailing president. Bouteflika’s brother and special counsellor Said was acquitted in January by a military appeals court of allegedly plotting against the army and the state, but faces corruption charges.

FILE - In this June 8, 2007 file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika before a meeting with Africa outreach members in during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.  (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)
Caption
FILE - In this June 8, 2007 file photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika before a meeting with Africa outreach members in during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)

Credit: Misha Japaridze

Credit: Misha Japaridze

FILE - In this May 4, 2017, file photo, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika prepares to vote in Algiers. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.  (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub, File)
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FILE - In this May 4, 2017, file photo, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika prepares to vote in Algiers. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub, File)

Credit: Sidali Djarboub

Credit: Sidali Djarboub

FILE - In this April 15 2000 file photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, embraces Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika starting an official visit to Cuba. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.   (AP Photo/Jose Goitia, File)
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FILE - In this April 15 2000 file photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, embraces Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika starting an official visit to Cuba. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia, File)

Credit: Jose Goitia

Credit: Jose Goitia

FILE - In this March 26, 2001 file photo, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat welcomes Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika during their meeting at Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.  (AP Photo/Hussein Hussein, File)
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FILE - In this March 26, 2001 file photo, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat welcomes Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika during their meeting at Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan. Former Algerian President Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Hussein Hussein, File)

Credit: Hussein Hussein

Credit: Hussein Hussein