Algerian democracy rally broken up

Several injured as police disperse 300 people who defied a ban and attempted to demonstrate in capital, Algiers.

    Riots erupted in Algeria in early January over soaring food costs and unemployment [AFP]

    Several people have been injured after police broke up a banned pro-democracy demonstration in the Algerian capital, Algiers, the leader of the opposition party that organised the rally has told AFP news agency

    About 300 people defied a ban in an attempt to hold the demonstration on Saturday but were confronted by dozens of police armed with batons, tear gas and plexiglas shields, Said Sadi, head of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), said.

    "There are several injured ... and numerous arrests," he said.

    Among those arrested was the head of the party's parliamentary group, Othmane Amazouz, he said.

    The demonstration comes as protests continue in neighbouring Tunisia, with people demanding the dissolution of the interim government after the country's authoritarian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was forced to flee a week ago due to the popular uprising.

    Tunisia effect

    As protests that started in Tunisia in mid-December gathered pace, riots erupted in Algeria in early January over soaring food costs and unemployment.

    Five days of clashes between demonstrators and security forces left five people dead and more than 800 wounded, almost all of them soldiers.

    Authorities have announced that 1,100 people were arrested.

    Sadi said the demonstration was also to demand the release of suspected rioters arrested in January.

    Demonstrations are banned in Algeria because of a state of emergency in place since 1992.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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