Last Updated: Thu Jan 06, 2011 17:49 pm (KSA) 14:49 pm (GMT)

Violent protests break out across Algeria


Algeria’s angry youth violently clashed late on Wednesday with security forces in a number of cities over the rise of food prices, unemployment, and a perceived deterioration of basic government services.

Video footage exclusive to Al Arabiya TV showed young rioters in the capital city Algiers hurling stones at security forces who responded firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya that rioters stormed the police headquarters near the building of the directorate general for national security in the neighborhood of Bab el-Oued in the capital.

Algerian authorities ordered police forces to be on high alert and closed a main road connecting the streets and neighborhoods in Algiers.

The riots in the capital reportedly broke out in solidarity with the alleged suppression of protests in the cities of Zeralda and Esharaqa by paramilitary forces.

In Tibaza province, 70 kilometers west of the capital, 32 people were arrested following violent riots in residential areas and in the province’s major urban center.

In Oran, a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria and the second largest city of the country, hundreds of young people took the streets and closed a number of streets.

Some of them threw animal bones in the streets and on government buildings. A young protester said bones were hurled as a message to the government "because it left nothing for us except bones."

Government-owned TV channels completely ignored the protests in their news casts at night on Wednesday and instead reported on the progress of government housing and infrastructure projects across the country.

Prices of some food products, like cooking oil and sugar, have increased by 150 percent during the rule of the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

(Written by Mustapha Ajbaili)

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