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2 Killed, Hundreds Injured in Algerian Food Riots

Youth face police forces in Annaba, eastern Algeria, 08 Jan 2011
Youth face police forces in Annaba, eastern Algeria, 08 Jan 2011

Algerian state media says at least two people have been killed and 300 have been injured in rioting over soaring food prices.

The country's official press agency reported the deaths Saturday, the first since rioting began late Thursday and Friday. The news came as fresh rioting erupted across the county and as government officials were due to meet about the problems.

Officials told the state-run APS news agency the first death took place Friday in the M'Sila region, southeast of the capital of Algiers, when a protester was shot by police. A second demonstrator died during rioting in the town of Bou Smail, about 40 kilometers west of the capital.

APS also said rioters ransacked government buildings, banks and post offices during Friday's violence.

The unrest began this week after the sudden price hike of food staples such as flour, sugar and oil.

Protesters are also blaming government policies for continuing unemployment and economic problems, despite the country's oil and gas wealth.

In neighboring Tunisia, violent protests over unemployment have led to three deaths in recent weeks.

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