Fresh disturbances broke out in Algeria on Friday as demonstrators and security forces clashed in the Algerian capital and other towns, after days of protests against steep hikes in basic foodstuffs and unemployment.
In Algiers youths hurled stones and glass bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.
Clashes also erupted after Friday prayers in the town of Annaba, east of the capital, and Oran to the west.
Earlier on Friday, police deployed outside mosques and a university in the Algerian capital as the national football league said that all top-level soccer matches scheduled for Friday and Saturday had been postponed, according to AFP.
A minister announced that the Algerian government officials will meet Saturday to find ways to halt a spike in the costs of basic food items that sparked the riots in the capital and other towns this week.
About 40 youths armed with swords attacked several shops in the city's al-Biar area late Thursday, looting a restaurant and emptying a jewelry store before security forces arrived, local reporters and witnesses said.
There was a second night of clashes in the volatile Bab al-Oued suburb, with police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators, a witness said. One witness said youths had hurled Molotov cocktails and another said they carried swords.
Police positioned around mosques in Bab al-Oued, Belcourt and Bachjarrah, poorer areas of the city, in case of more unrest after Friday prayers, according to reporters on the scene.
There was also extra security at a police station, a new shopping mall and a major hotel in an area near Bab Ezzouar airport, while a nearby university was surrounded by security forces.
Travelers said a road between the capital and eastern suburbs on the coast had been blocked since Thursday afternoon after youths set up barricades, also clashing with security forces.
The football league decided to "postpone all meetings scheduled on the weekend of 7 and 8 January 2001 in the first division professional football championship," it said in a statement on its website.
All second division and national amateur division matches were also cancelled, it said.
In line with official silence on the rioting the statement gave no reason for scrapping the matches.
Authorities cleaned up the debris Friday after the overnight unrest in Algiers, removing damaged cars at dawn, an AFP journalist said.
In the Annacer-Diar al-Afia suburb, a Renault-Dacia car dealership showed signs of fire and residents said a public bus was also torched, although only burn marks on the road were visible by morning.
Protests led by small groups of young men have flared in several towns this week, linked to anger about a spike in the costs of basic food items by about 30 percent this month, unemployment and a lack of social housing.
Similar protests have rattled neighboring Tunisia since mid-December.
Al-Watan newspaper reported that several people had been wounded in the Algerian clashes, but the official media has made no comment and authorities have only assured that they are tackling the spike in costs.
Commerce Minister Mustapha Benbada said after meeting with producers and importers of cooking oil and sugar -- which have seen the steepest price hikes -- that his ministry "is beginning to control the crisis" and it would be resolved by next week, national radio reported Thursday.
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.
Unemployment among young university graduates has also been behind nearly three weeks of unrest in neighboring Tunisia, sparked by the self-immolation of a 26-year-old man in a protest. He died on Tuesday.
Three other people have died in the Tunisian unrest, including at least one other by committing suicide, according to reports.