Algeria protests: Police ‘detain top businessmen’

Protesters in Algeria have been demanding that those close to the former president should also relinquish power

Five of Algeria’s richest businessmen, some seen as close to ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, have been detained by police, state TV reports.

They are being held over a corruption investigation, it adds.

One of those named, industrial tycoon Issad Rebrab, denied the arrest on Twitter, saying he went to the police to sort out a business matter.

Mr Bouteflika, who had been in power for 20 years, resigned three weeks ago following anti-government protests.

The four others who have been detained are brothers from the Kouinef family, named as Reda, Tarek, Abdel Kader and Karim. They are thought to have close links with the former president.

Fresh elections are expected in July.

CEO of Algerian conglomerate Cevital Issad Rebrab speaks during the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum on November 27, 2017
Issad Rebrab is the head of the Algerian conglomerate Cevital

Their detention comes after the head of the army, Lt Gen Gaïd Salah said last week that some among the ruling elite could be questioned over alleged corruption, Reuters news agency reports.

Protesters who had been demanding the resignation of Mr Bouteflika, had also been calling for the downfall of “Le Pouvoir”, or the establishment, meaning that all those around the former president should also go.

Algeria protests: Police 'detain top businessmen
Protesters say they are getting ‘closer’ to freedom