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Algeria's protests: Tycoon Ali Haddad arrested on the border with Tunisia



  Ali Haddad

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Mr. Haddad controls a huge business empire

A leading businessman from Algeria was arrested when trying to reach neighboring Tunisia, local media said.

Ali Haddad is one of the richest men in the country and a longtime supporter of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is under heavy pressure

Protesters demanded that Mr Bouteflika and his relatives should step aside.

On Tuesday, Algeria's powerful army chief, General Ahmed Gaed Salah, called on the ailing leader to resign.

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9659003] Getty Images

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Mr. Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013

According to Algerian media, 54-year-old Haddad had a British passport and large sums of money when he tried to cross the Tunisian border by car in the early hours of Sunday.

The reason for the reported arrest is unclear. Recently, Mr Haddad resigned as head of the Algerian employers' organization FCE.

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He managed the small hotel of his family and ran a big hotel business empire with interests in the fields of construction, sports, media and health care.

According to analysts, he was essentially a member of Mr. Bouteflica's inner circle.

Under his tenure, the FCE supported the president's bid for a fifth term – a position was later withdrawn as his popularity eased.

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Media Signature Police used water cannons during the protest in Algiers

. Algeria was shaken by weeks of protest against the government since Mr Bouteflika announced his intention to stand for election next month.

The 82-year-old leader, who came to power in 1999, has dropped his plans but is still in office.

He has rarely been in public in the past since he suffered a stroke in 2013.


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