Three dead, 800 injured, 1,000 arrests in Algeria

AFP, Sunday 9 Jan 2011

Riots continue in Algiers leaving 3 dead and thousands either injured or arrested

Youth face police forces in Annaba, eastern Algeria (AP)

Three people have been killed and over 800 injured in riots in Algeria linked to rising food costs and unemployment, Sunday's press quoted the interior minister as saying.

Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia also said that around 1,000 protestors had been arrested, many of them minors, and were beginning to be taken before judges on Sunday.

He warned that troublemakers "will not go unpunished."Out of the 826 injured, the minister said 763 were police. Some of those arrested face charges of arson and "injuries resulting in death", lawyer Rachid Menadi said.

In a bid to curb the price rises, some as high as 30 percent since January 1, the government on Saturday announced a temporary 41 percent cut in customs duties and taxes on sugar and food oils.

The unrest in Algeria, which is still under a state of emergency following a civil war with Islamist extremists in the 1990s, comes as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)'s food price index hit its highest level since it began in 1990.

About 75 percent of Algerians are under the age of 30, and 20 percent of the youth are unemployed, according to the International Monetary Fund. Many are well-qualified but cannot find work.

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