APTOPIX Algeria

Demonstrators wave the Algerian flag as thousands gather for a rally in Algiers, Friday April 5, 2019, chanting, singing and cheering after their movement forced out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika - and demanding that other top figures leave too. Crowds massed Friday in Algiers boulevards and headed toward the central post office, symbol of the movement that has upended this energy-rich North African country. (AP Photo/Toufik Doudou)

ALGIERS, Algeria — Masses of Algerians whose pro-democracy movement forced out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sang and celebrated their victory Friday — and demanded that other top figures leave too.

Huge crowds surged through Algiers boulevards and marched toward the central post office, key symbol of a peaceful movement that has upended this energy-rich North African country in just weeks.

The crowd appeared the largest yet over seven straight Fridays of protests against a power structure seen as corrupt and repressive, according to an Associated Press reporter who has covered each one.

Despite being crammed shoulder to shoulder at some points in the hours-long demonstration, protesters remained good-spirited, with palpable joy at Bouteflika’s resignation.

It was their first protest since Bouteflika resigned this week under pressure from protesters and the powerful army. Bouteflika, 82 and ailing since a 2013 stroke, had been president since 1999.

“Game Over” read some signs, or “The Streets Won’t be Silenced!”

Until an interim leader is named, no one is technically in charge of this country that’s a key player in the fight against terrorism and important source of Europe’s gas and oil.

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