Calm returns to Algiers after pro-reform protest

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 13, 2011 19:26

ALGIERS, Algeria — Calm returned to the Algerian capital a day after thousands of people took part in a banned pro-reform gathering.

Organizers said around 10,000 took part in Saturday's rally in Algiers, though officials put turnout at 1,500. Many held signs reading "Bouteflika out," in reference to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999.

Under the country's long-standing state of emergency, public protests are banned in Algiers, and an estimated 26,000 riot police set up barriers in a failed bid to quash Saturday's gathering, organizers said.

A human rights campaigner said police briefly detained some 400 people, but no injuries were reported.

The hours-long rally dissolved peacefully Saturday afternoon, and Sunday was calm.


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