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Africa

Algerian authorities warn against pro-democracy march

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-22

Algerian authorities have warned residents of Algiers against attending a march organised by the pro-democracy opposition party, Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD). The protest defies a law banning demonstrations implemented in 1992.

AFP - Authorities in Algeria called on residents of the capital to ignore opposition calls to join a pro-democracy march Saturday and warned it was not legal, amid concern of more Tunisia-style unrest.

The demonstration called by the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) comes with the region rattled by the toppling a week ago of Tunisia's authoritarian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after weeks of protests.

"Citizens are asked to show wisdom and vigilance and not respond to possible provocation aimed at disturbing their tranquillity, peace of mind and serenity," the Algiers administration said on state news agency APS.

It reminded in a statement that "marches are not allowed in Algiers" and "all assemblies on public roads are considered a breach of public order".

The march was planned "without authorisation", it said. Demonstrations are banned in Algeria because of a state of emergency in place since 1992.

RCD head Said Sadi has said he is determined to push on with the march, despite the ban, with the demonstration to also demand the release of suspected rioters arrested in January.

As protests that started in neighbouring Tunisia in mid-December gathered pace, riots erupted in Algeria in early January over soaring food costs and unemployment.

Five days of clashes between demonstrators and security forces left five people dead and more than 800 wounded -- almost all of them soldiers. Authorities have announced that 1,100 people were arrested.

Tunisia's Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14, the unprecedented street protests ending his 23-year grip on power. Algerian commentators have said that more Tunisia-style protests could break out in Algeria.
 

Date created : 2011-01-22

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