Algeria gears up for protest rally, riot police deployed

February 19th, 2011 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Algiers, Feb 19 (IANS) Ahead of a rally planned by the opposition, Algerian authorities Saturday deployed a large number of security personnel and anti-riot police in most parts of the capital Algiers, media reports said.Local daily el-Khabar, citing witnesses, said police have reached the May 1 Square near the centre of the city, which was the venue of last week’s protests.

The National Coordination for Change and Democracy, an apex organisation of opposition parties and civil society groups, has called for the march, hoping to build on the momentum generated by uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, Xinhua reported.

The opposition said it would defy a ban on staging protests in place in the north African country since 2001.

The ban was imposed after protests in the northern Kabylie region in 2001 left eight dead and hundreds injured.

Protests had taken place across Algeria in January against escalating food prices and unemployment.

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