Algerians are taking to the streets in droves as groups from across society demand their longtime president end his time in power.

Cities across Africa’s largest country have been flooded for the past two weeks with protesters opposing their ageing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s fifth re-election bid after 20 years in power. The demonstrations, which on March 1 by some estimates numbered more than a million, have sent shockwaves through the oil and gas-rich country — OPEC’s ninth largest crude producer.

For the security-heavy state that went largely untouched by the Arab Spring, the strength and audacity of the protests are a complete surprise, says Farah Soumes, a local freelance writer who’s been taking part in the demonstrations.

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A spiritual battle is taking place worldwide and is personified by “nationalists versus globalists.”

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