Algeria army chief offers dialogue to protesters
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Algeria army chief offers dialogue to protesters

"I remain entirely convinced that adopting constructive dialogue with the institutions of the state, is the only way to exit from the crisis," General Ahmed Gaid Salah said in a statement published by the defense ministry on Wednesday. Salah reiterated that dialogue is "the wisest way to present constructive proposals, bring points of view closer and reach a consensus around the available solutions." President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation on April 2 after Salah withdrew his support for the ailing president following months of protests against his rule that erupted over his decision to seek a fifth term. Despite his fall, the protests have continued as many demand the removal of all figures associated with Bouteflika’s regime and the prosecution of those they see as corrupt and still in power. The interim administration that has taken over has pledged to hold presidential elections on July 4, but Algerians say voting cannot be free and fair if it is organized within the same judicial framework and by the same institutions as those that operated under Bouteflika. Hundreds of people took part in a rally outside the General Workers' Union in the capital Algiers on Wednesday to mark May Day, shouting slogans against the "system." The police banned them from reaching the Grand Post Office — the epicenter of the anti-regime rallies that erupted on February 22. Salah’s remarks come a day after he dismissed calls by protesters for the removal of interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah, the former upper house speaker, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui. The army chief said in a speech on Tuesday that the upcoming polls is "the ideal solution to end the crisis."

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