- Title: ALGERIA: Police try to break up anti-regime rally
- Date: 20th February 2011
- Summary: ALGIERS, ALGERIA (FEBRUARY 19, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ALGIERS / SECURITY PERSONNEL ON STREETS CLOSE OF POLICE RIOT SHIELD ARMOURED VEHICLE VARIOUS OF SECURITY PERSONNEL ON STREETS VARIOUS OF DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING MORE OF DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING (Arabic): "Algeria -- free and democratic!" & "The people want the fall of the regime" PROTESTER HOLDING SIGN READING (Arabic): "We strongly question the regime" MORE OF DEMONSTRATORS MAN HOLDING SIGN READING (French): "Stop the injustice, no to corruption" VARIOUS OF DEMONSTRATION / PROTESTERS SCUFFLING WITH RIOT POLICE
- Embargoed: 7th March 2011 12:00
- Location: Algeria, Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA33G96RMVA85P6Y589TL6J5Y6B
- Story Text: There was a strong police presence in the Algerian capital Algiers on Saturday (February 19) when angry protesters started their weekly anti government march.
Chanting: "Algeria -- free and democratic!" the crowd was dispersed by riot police about two blocks from May 1 Square, where the anti-government protest was scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. (1000 GMT).
The large police presence was intended to prevent Saturday's protest from going ahead or turning to chaos as they have in other countries in the Middle East. The region is in flames since the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions that ousted their leaders in favour of democracy. Dozens of police vans and military-style police armoured vehicles were dotted around the capital hours before the demonstration was supposed to begin.
The protesters split into two groups in a courtyard of a residential block, where they were surrounded by about 400 police in helmets and body protection.
A coalition of human rights groups, some trade unionists and a small opposition party are calling for weekly protest marches through the capital.
The authorities have refused permission for the marches, citing public order concerns.
Unrest in Algeria could have implications for the world economy since it is a major oil and gas exporter, but analysts say an Egypt-style revolt is unlikely because the government can use its energy wealth to placate most grievances.
About 150 protesters held a protest last Saturday in May 1 Square, but others trying to join them were blocked by a large police presence.
Algeria's biggest opposition forces are not taking part in the protest movement.
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