North African country’s longest-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who is the former president for Algeria was laid to rest in peace on Sunday at a cemetery for its independence heroes.
Bouteflika died on Friday aged 84, after a career which took him from being the world’s youngest foreign minister to one of its oldest heads of state, but ended with a humbling fall from power.
An angry protest sparked in 2019 as Bouteflika moved to bid for a fifth term, soon grew into a mass movement against his regime and when he lost the backing of the army, he was forced to step down.
He had stayed out of the public eye at a residence in western Algiers after his resignation until his death.
His muted funeral, with no lying in state and just three days of national mourning instead of eight, reflected a mixed legacy that left many Algerians indifferent to the ceremony.
“Frankly, I’ve got better things to do than follow the funeral of a president who left the country in a terrible state,” retired financial sector employee Fares said.
Bouteflika, who had first served as foreign minister in the mid-1960s, swept to the presidency in 1999 on a wave of popular support as his amnesty offer to Islamist militants helped bring an end to a decade-long civil war.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune flanked by top government officials attended Sunday’s funeral, while the minister for independence fighters, Laid Rebiga, read an eulogy.
An armoured vehicle towed his flag-draped coffin on a gun carriage adorned with flowers and escorted by lines of police on motorcycles.
Apart from family members, government members and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony, guarded by blue- and black-uniformed security officers.
Tebboune, who succeeded Bouteflika and once served as his premier, placed a wreath of the freshly-dug tomb amid a gun-salute according to APS news agency report.