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(The Christian Science Monitor) Egypt’s revolutionary fervor has spread to Algeria, but protesters calling for the government’s ouster were outnumbered three to one by police on Saturday.

Thousands of Algerian protesters marched amid massive police presence in their nation’s capital Saturday to demand the government’s ouster, echoing the events in Egypt that ended the decades-long authoritarian rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Associated Press reports that some 10,000 protesters faced off against 30,000 riot police in the streets of Algers, according to estimates by protest organizers, although Algerian officials put the number of protesters at around 1,500.

AP reports:

“Protesters chanted ‘No to the police state!’ and ‘Bouteflika out!’ a reference to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has led the nation since 1999.

The heavy police presence and barricades turned Saturday’s 3-mile march into a rally at the First of May square. …
‘This demonstration is a success because it’s been 10 years that people haven’t been able to march in Algiers and there’s a sort of psychological barrier,’ said Ali Rachedi, the former head of the Front of Socialist Forces party. ‘The fear is gone.’ “

The AP adds that a human rights activist said more than 400 people were arrested.
Al Jazeera notes that while there is often a police presence in Algers to defend against terrorist attacks, the numbers on Saturday were “unbelievable” according to Elias Filali, an Algerian blogger and activist.

“The regime is frightened,” Mr. Filali told Al Jazeera. “And the presence of 30,000 police officers in the capital gives you an idea of how frightened the regime [is] of its people.”

Filali accused Algeria’s government of being “corrupt to the bone, based on electoral fraud, and repression. There is a lot of discontent among young people … the country is badly managed by a corrupt regime that does not want to listen,” he said.

IN PICTURES: Exclusive Monitor photos of Egypt’s turmoil

Al Jazeera adds that Algeria has seen protests during the past several months over unemployment, high food costs, poor housing, and corruption.
Mr. Bouteflika announced earlier this month that the government was planning to lift its emergency powers and deal with unemployment and food costs in an effort to assuage the people. Al Jazeera chronicles Algeria’s political unrest since 1988 in a graphical timeline on their website.

Read more:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2011/0213/In-Algeria-police-flood-streets-to-prevent-Egypt-style-revolution/(page)/2

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(Signalfire) A young man has set himself on fire in the northern Algerian province of Balida after the police refused to take up his complaint immediately.

The 25-year-old man from the town of Chrea who had lodged a complaint to police for a fighting case set himself alight in front of the police headquarters on Tuesday, AFP reported on Wednesday.

He was taken to hospital and his condition has been reported (…) stable.

His hometown of Chrea is near the province of Tebessa which has been the scene of several similar public suicides, while a dozen Algerians have set themselves ablaze since January.

The moves have been inspired by recent events in Tunisia, where the self-immolation of a man sparked an uprising that brought about the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Anti-government protests in Algeria have been fueled over rising food prices and high unemployment rates, especially among the youth.

On Sunday, dozens of jobless people protested in front of the country’s Ministry of Employment and Social Security in the capital, Algiers.

Algeria’s opposition has said that they would probably continue the demonstrations on February 12 despite government’s promises of more political freedoms.

Amid speculations that the fire of protests in neighboring countries could spread to Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has pledged to lift a nearly two-decade state of emergency.

February 10, 2011 by mat

Source: http://signalfire.org/?p=7300

(anonnews.org)

JANUARY 30, 2011
DEAR CITIZENS OF THE WORLD,
We, Anonymous, revile the extreme violence organized by the repressive Algerian regime against its opposition on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011. We hereby express our solidarity towards the Algerian people and our deepest sympathies for the injured and their families. It is for the sake of their plight that we have begun launching attacks on Algerian government websites. Furthermore, we will actively participate in the Day of Change organised by the opposition on Saturday February 12th, 2011. We will vigilantly ensure that Algerians’ efforts are successful, while remaining constant in reminding our fellow comrades that violence is not a part of our agenda. We urge the Algerian government to respect and honour the fundamental rights of its citizenry.

Freedom of expression is an inalienable right that no regime may trample on without paying a hefty price for its reprehensible actions. We, Anonymous, demand an end to the state of emergency that has gripped the country since 1992. This law stifles the citizenry’s legitimate aspirations towards liberty, and undermines the basis of the Rule of Law. Following the ongoing, unprecedented demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, it is imperative that the Algerian government heed the calls for justice. If the government fails to act accordingly, the situation will continue to deteriorate. A revolutionary wind is blowing across the Arab world, one which will not subside until freedoms are secured. We call upon the Algerian government in good faith to reflect upon the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, in order to avoid reproducing any form of bloodshed.

We, Anonymous, hereby vow to continue supporting the Algerian people. When faced with injustice, corruption and repression, we will always stand by the oppressed. We invite all Algerians to join us. The beginning of 2011 has proven to the world that change is possible and that even the most authoritarian regimes cannot resist a People united to preserve Mankind’s most basic right: freedom.

BREAD, PEACE, FREEDOM
These are our desires for the benefit of humanity

Do not forget:
WE ARE ANONYMOUS
WE ARE LEGION
WE DO NOT FORGET OPPRESSIVE ACTS
WE DO NOT FORGIVE INJUSTICES
JOIN US
THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM NEEDS YOU NOW

Source: http://www.anonnews.org/?p=press&a=item&i=333

(signalfire.org) ALGIERS — Algerian police clashed with pro-democracy protesters in the capital Saturday as they blocked a march on parliament amid mounting public grievances that have fuelled fears of Tunisia-style unrest.

Five protesters were hurt as riot police used batons to break up the demonstration according to the opposition party which organised the rally in defiance of a government ban. “There are several injured… and numerous arrests,” Said Sadi, the head of the opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD).

Seven police officers were also hurt in the clashes, officials said. Two of are in serious condition, a police source told the official APS news agency.

Five people were arrested, APS said, also citing a police source.

Among them was the head of the party’s parliamentary group, Othmane Amazouz, the RCD leader said.

Another of the party’s MPs, Arezki Aiter, was detained but released after an hour, the party said.

Around 300 people had gathered for the rally, intending to march from the city’s Place de la Concorde to the parliament building, but they were quickly blockaded by police armed with batons and tear gas, which prevented the group from moving for six hours before it dispersed peacefully. Sadi said his party’s headquarters in the city’s main avenue had been put under siege by police, describing himself as “a prisoner”. “We cannot wage a peaceful campaign when we are under siege,” he said, using a megaphone to address the crowd from a first-floor window. The protesters in the street below waved Tunisian as well as Algerian flags and shouted “A free Algeria, a democratic Algeria” in Arabic, and “Murder State”. An AFP journalist saw one of the party’s regional leaders, Reda Boudraa, bleeding from the head after being hit by a police baton. Boudraa was taken away in an ambulance with another injured protester. Said vowed the RCD would mount further protests, despite the government ban, saying his supporters were preparing “for the next demonstrations,” planned for February 9, anniversary of the state of emergency declared in 1992.

A government statement, carried by APS Friday, said: “Citizens are asked to show wisdom and vigilance and not respond to possible provocation aimed at disturbing their tranquillity, peace of mind and serenity.” “Marches are not allowed in Algiers” under the state of emergency, the statement warned, adding that “all assemblies on public roads are considered a breach of public order”.

The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) said Saturday the blanket government ban on peaceful protest could cause a social explosion in the North African country.

“The fact of banning peaceful marches undertaken by the parties and civil society is leading us towards an explosion,” the group’s president Mostefa Bouchachi told AFP.

The LADDH, the RCD, four trade unions and another party, the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), announced Friday the formation of a national movement for democracy. But the FFS said Saturday it was backing out of preparations for a further march. Mounting public grievances over unemployment and rising costs sparked protests in Algeria earlier this month which left five people dead and more than 800 injured. The government responded swiftly by reducing the prices of oil, sugar and other basic necessities which had risen sharply, while buying up a million tonnes of wheat amid assurances that subsidies on essential goods like flour would continue. Unrest still simmers, however, and within the past two weeks eight people set themselves on fire in Algeria, although some cases were deemed to be linked to mental health issues. Students at the Mouloud-Mammeri University at Tizi-Ouzou in the restive Kabylie region east of Algiers had said that they would back the protest.

In a statement the student leadership praised the Tunisian uprising which ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power and said it “inspired and motivated all the patriots of North Africa.”

Algerian commentators have said that more Tunisia-style protests could break out in Algeria, a country with similar social problems.

(Edited), Source: http://signalfire.org/?p=6769