Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Anti-government demonstrations continue in Algeria

On Sunday 13th February, 2,000 protesters clashed with Algeria's security forces in the eastern city of Annaba, as the opposition announced another major anti-government rally set to take place on 19th February.

The US called on Algeria's security to exercise restraint following clashed between protestors and the police which led to dozens of people being arrested. US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said: “We reaffirm our support for the universal rights of the Algerian people, including assembly and expression."

Demonstrations also spread to other cities across the country, mirroring those that took place in Tunisia. A spokesman for National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNCD), Mustepha Bouchahi, said “people braved the ban to demonstrate peacefully," and condemned “the brutal behaviour of the security forces."

A day later, hundreds of youths clashed with security during protests in the northern town of Akbou. It is estimated that around 30 people have been injured after police used tear gas and batons to control the crowds protesting over unemployment.

The protests have been ongoing intermittently since early January, and show little sign of subsiding. Experts say the revolt draws on people's frustrations with the ruling elite and a lack of political freedom, as well as rising costs of living, poor housing and unemployment.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

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