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Protestors clash with police in Algiers

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-10-20

Violence broke out when demonstrators protesting poor housing conditions clashed with the police in the Algerian capital of Algiers on Monday in a rare display of social discontent.

Police in the Algerian capital of Algiers clashed with demonstrators protesting poor housing conditions on Monday.

Clashes broke out when residents of a shanty town in the impoverished Diar Echam neighbourhood in eastern Algiers threw stones at the police gathered to disperse the protest. Dozens of protestors as well as six police officers were injured in the clashes, according to local media reports.

Despite Algeria's oil and natural gas wealth, high unemployment and poor housing are a source of social unrest in the North African nation. But protests in the heavily-policed capital are rare.

Monday’s demonstrations were reportedly sparked when residents of the Diar Echam shanty town were angered when local authorities published a list of those eligible for re-housing. They believed they were being discriminated against, residents told the Reuters news service.

"Most of the young people living here are in fact not living," a resident who identified himself as Ahmed told Reuters.

Many of the area's residents say they have no choice but to defend the shanty town since social housing is desperately oversubscribed.

"The way they give out housing is biased,” a protestor told FRANCE 24. “There are families of 14 people in two rooms, how can they sleep? One at a time? Some of the children spend all night outside taking drugs so their brothers and sisters can sleep. We will not stop the riot."

Date created : 2009-10-20