News / Africa

Algerian Police Block Another Protest Attempt in Algiers

Pro-government protesters display a banner with the picture of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, March 5, 2011
Pro-government protesters display a banner with the picture of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, March 5, 2011

Algerian police have foiled another attempt by pro-democracy protesters to march in the capital Algiers.

Police prevented three separate march bids by the National Coordination for Democracy and Change (CNCD) Saturday in the capital.

Witnesses say government supporters, mostly young people, threatened to lynch prominent opposition politician Said Sadi at one of the gatherings.  Sadi was forced to flee the scene.

Sadi told the French news agency that his attackers had "knifed" him, but that "it was not serious."  Police told the agency that they had received no complaint.

Saturday's failed demonstration was at least the fifth time in the last six weeks pro-democracy activists have tried to march in the Algerian capital.  Public protests are banned there under the law.

The CNCD was founded in January in the wake of riots that killed five people and wounded more than 800 others.

Algerians have been demonstrating for a peaceful transition to democracy in protests similar to those that lead to the ouster of the Tunisian and Egyptian leaderships.

In a concession to the opposition, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika lifted a 19-year-old state of emergency late last month.

The government originally imposed the measure to help authorities combat Islamist rebels.  However in the past few years, violence has subsided, and government critics alleged the emergency rules were being used to repress political freedoms.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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