Saturday, February 12, 2011

Algerian police succesful in quelling protests

Algerian police has succeeded in blocking mass protests on Saturday and in dispersing demonstrations in Algiers, Oran and Annaba. Other protests also took place in other places, like Gardaya in the south, but were equally stopped. According to the newspaper Al Watan scores of arrests were made in Algiers on the Place du 1er May, while at least 70 people were arrested in Oran and 30 in Annaba.  

Opponents of the government had called for mass protests to demand democratic change and jobs, but thousands of police in riot gear were moved to the capital to enforce a ban on the march. Checkpoinmt were set up on the roads leading to the city and trvallers by train weere greeted by a solid cordon of policemen that stopped them from entering Algiers proper, a method that the authorities have usee wit succces sinc at least the ate eighties and early nineties, when the islamist FIS party  was at th winning hand.
'I am sorry to say the government has deployed a huge force to prevent a peaceful march. This is not good for Algeria's image," said Mustafa Bouachichi, a leader of the League for Human Rights which is helping organize the protest.
A small number of protesters on May 1 Square, near the center of the city, shouted "Bouteflika Out!" and 'As shaab yourid ousqat al-nizam (the people want the downfall of the regime) some waving copies of a newspaper front page with the headline 'Mubarak has fallen!' Buth they were effectively squard in by massive
quantities of riot police.

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