Algeria police block anti-government protest

Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 23:50 [IST]
 

ALGIERS: Algerian security forces on Saturday prevented about 2,000 demonstrators from participating in an anti-government march through the capital, El Watan newspaper reported.

Thousands of riot police forced the crowd to disperse, while demonstrators chanted slogans such as "The people want the fall of the regime" and "Bouteflika out," demanding the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has ruled Algeria since 1999. Security forces were deployed early morning around May 1 Square near the center of the city where the protest was expected to be staged.

Protesters moved the march to another location in the neighborhood of Belcourt and police chased them violently with their shields and sticks, according to the newspaper. One opposition leader was injured after being hit by officers.

"They managed to stop us from walking, but they failed to suppress our anger and our desire to change Algeria," a young protester said.

Last Saturday, more than 30,000 police officers blocked another anti-government demonstration and clashed with protesters who defied the government ban. Demonstrators demanded "change and democracy, lifting of the state of emergency, the release of prisoners of riots in January, labor and social justice and liberation in political and media fields."

Demonstrations in Algeria are banned under the state of emergency. Earlier this month, Bouteflika said he will end the state of emergency, which was imposed in 1992 during the brutal civil war that killed hundreds of people.

In January, Algeria experienced several days of rioting over rising food prices, poverty and high unemployment, in which at least three people were killed and hundreds injured. There were also at least three cases of self-immolation to protest the economic conditions.

(BNO NEWS )

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