Algerian police trying to prevent banned march in Algiers   2011-02-12 19:16:59 FeedbackPrintRSS

ALGIERS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Police, heavily deployed in Algiers are trying to prevent protestors from starting an opposition march from the May 1 Square on Saturday, Xinhua reporters said. The initiators of the march demand "change and democracy, lifting the state of emergency, release of prisoners of riots in January, labor and social justice and liberation in political and media fields.

Security forces arrested dozens of protesters assembled for an opposition rally in the capital Algiers on Saturday, sources told Xinhua. The source said more than 500 protesters have gathered near May 1 Square, near the center of the city, chanting "the people want the change of the regime", the same slogan echoed by the youth- generated revolution which forced Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down after his 30-year rule.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV said the police barred protesters from making it to Algiers' bustling Martyrs' Square.

Spearheaded by the National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNCD), a body of opposition parties and civil society groups, the rally called for changing the regime and unleashing more political reforms.

Algerian authorities have refused to sanction the holding of the rally, which is be staged at 10:00 GMT.

Algerian president has pledged to lift Algeria's 20-year state of emergency and allow more democratic freedoms.

Earlier the year, riots and protests, lasted for five days, broke out across Algeria against skyrocketing food prices and unemployment in the oil-rich North African country.

Four men have been killed and 800, including 736 policemen, have been wounded in the protests.

Meanwhile, a dozen Algerians have set themselves on fire since January, among whom three died, in an apparent imitation of Tunisian Mohamed Bouaziz, whose self-immolation sparked protests across the country and forced president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step aside and fled the country.

Editor: Deng Shasha
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