Organisers encouraged protesters to come out in Algiers and other cities to show that the departure last week of long-time leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika is not enough, that they want complete political change.

Anti-riot police confront some youths after a protest in Algiers, Algeria on April 12, 2019.
Anti-riot police confront some youths after a protest in Algiers, Algeria on April 12, 2019. (Reuters)

Police on Friday moved in at several points around the Algerian capital, firing intense volleys of tear gas as a massive anti-government protest is drawing to an end.

Friday was the eighth straight day of demonstrations against Algeria's interim leadership, and the protest was marked by security forces responding to bottles and rocks with tear gas.

Police arrested 108 people after clashes with "infiltrators" among the protesters who injured 27 policemen, a police statement said.

Police said in a statement it had arrested an unspecified "terrorist group" and also some foreigners who had planned to incite protesters to violence. It gave no further details.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power 10 days ago, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change in the North African country.

But the protests, which began on February 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of people they see as corrupt figures.

Algerians take part in a demonstration against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on March 22, in the capital Algiers. (AFP)
Algerians take part in a demonstration against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on March 22, in the capital Algiers. (AFP) (AFP)

'Radical change'

Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4.

"No to Bensalah," the protesters chanted earlier on Friday.

"We want the prosecution of all corrupt people" and "no to the gang," said banners held up by marchers. Many protesters waved Algeria's white, green and red crescent moon flag.

One of them, who gave his name as Nawal, told Reuters, "We came out today to say that Bensalah's position is unconstitutional."

"We do not deserve military rule. We deserve a democratic and free Algeria."

Ali Badji, a 52-year-old grocer, holding his son on his shoulders, said, "We are still sticking to our demands. We want a radical change."

Police officers use water cannon to disperse protesters after parliament appointed upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah as interim president in Algiers. April 9, 2019.
Police officers use water cannon to disperse protesters after parliament appointed upper house chairman Abdelkader Bensalah as interim president in Algiers. April 9, 2019. (Reuters)

State television said similar marches took places in most cities.

More than one in four people under the age of 30 are unemployed - one of the central grievances of protesters who want the economy liberalized and diversified to reduce its reliance on its oil and gas production.

On Wednesday, Algeria's army chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, said he expected to see members of the ruling elite close to Bouteflika, who he called a "gang", prosecuted for corruption and said he would support a transition toward elections.

The army initially monitored the unrest from the sidelines. Then Salah intervened, declaring Bouteflika - rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 - unfit to rule.

Source: AP