Algeria protest blocked by police

ALGIERS — Police in Algeria on Saturday launched a massive security operation to head off marchers calling for an immediate end to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime.

Anti-riot police in central Algiers blocked around 40 demonstrators who attempted to stage a rally, an AFP reporter witnessed.

The movement against Bouteflika, 73, is being led by the National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNCD) which was set up on January 21 after riots at the start of the year that left five dead and 800 injured.

It has said it wants Bouteflika to step down, citing the same problems of high unemployment, housing and soaring costs that inspired the uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.

The protesters shouted anti-regime slogans but were surrounded by around 400 police with anti-riot shields and wearing helmets.

The CNCD has split between supporters of street protests and civil society groups and independent trade unions who prefer to pursue other measures.

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