ALGIERS, Algeria — Helmeted riot police armed with batons and shields on Saturday pummeled protesters defying a ban on public gatherings in Algeria's capital, injuring 42 people, an opposition leader said.
Algeria has been among the many North African and Middle Eastern countries hit by shows of resistance against their autocratic leaders after a young Tunisian man set himself on fire last month, triggering a wave of protests that led Tunisia's longtime strongman to flee the country.
Protest organizers at the democratic opposition party RCD draped a Tunisian flag next to the Algerian flag on a balcony of party headquarters where the march was to begin.
Riot police, backed by a helicopter and crowd-control trucks, ringed the exit to ensure marchers couldn't leave the building — and striking those who tried to come out to take part. Outside, some young men waved the national flag and chanted "Assassin Power!"