Algerians Protest to Demand Government Concessions
A day after the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Algerians violated their government’s ban on protest Saturday by flooding the Algerian capital of Algiers to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Protestors also demanded improved living standards, a transparent democracy and free media.
When the protestors attempted to enter the capital, they were confronted by approximately 30,000 armed police officers branding clubs, tear gas grenades and guns with rubber bullets.
Other security measures were implemented: armored vehicles were strategically placed throughout the city, helicopters patrolled the capital from the sky and officers carried water cannons to disperse and stifle protestors.
The state also erected barricades outside the city to prevent protestors from reaching the capital. Similar to the Egyptian response to protestors weeks ago, the Algerian government cut off access to the internet.
By late afternoon, the streets were almost empty of protestors and more than 400 people had been arrested.
In the last year, Algeria has witnessed numerous anti-government demonstrations. On Dec. 29 protestors took to the street due to a lack of housing, resulting in 53 injuries and 29 arrests. Between Jan. 3-11 Algerians protested a dramatic rise in the price of food stamps.
Saturday’s protest comes just a day after thousands of demonstrators protested in Egypt, finally resulting in the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Three weeks earlier, Algeria’s neighbor Tunisia had major protests, also resulting in the resignation of their president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ruled since 1999.