Algerian police break up anti-government protest

Security forces in the capital of Algeria have prevented an anti-government demonstration from taking place by forcibly dispersing opposition groups, including human rights organizations and trade unions.

According to the El Watan newspaper, about 1,000 protesters tried to march, shouting slogans like “Bouteflika out,” “people want to overthrow the regime,” and “Free and Democratic Algeria.”

They were met by thousands of policemen, many decked out in riot gear.

The regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s has banned large rallies. As such, Algeria’s mainstream opposition groups avoided Saturday’s planned protest.

Another similar rally was disrupted by police in Algiers last week.

At least one opposition leader, Tahar Besbes, head of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), was injured in the melee, according to media reports. Another protester was reportedly detained by police.

However, the opposition group that tried to demonstrate today has vowed to stage protests every Saturday until democratic reforms are implemented.

Separately, as a measure of appeasement, Algeria’s Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said the government will remove a 19-year state of emergency by the end of the month (fulfilling an earlier promise).

Thus far, Algeria has failed to attract the tens of thousands of protesters seen in anti=government rallies in Egypt and Tunisia.

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