Algeria: Thousands turn out for anti-govt protests

AFP , Saturday 12 Feb 2011

Algerians march on the government and call for Bouteflika to leave

Algerian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Algiers 12 February 2011. (Reuters)

Organizers of an anti-government demonstration in the Algerian capital say several thousand people have gathered in the city center.

Under the country's long-standing state of emergency, protests are banned in the capital, Algiers, and hundreds of riot police were on hand Saturday. They blocked streets and charged the crowd in a bid to prevent protesters from reaching the city center.

Demonstrators chanted "no to the police state" and "Bouteflika out," a reference to the country's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who's been in power since 1999.

Saturday's protest comes the day after massive protests in Egypt toppled the president, and weeks after similar demonstrations in neighboring Tunisia also succeeded in ousting the president.

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