x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Algerians stage sit-in for democracy

Police surround Algerians as they stage peaceful sit-in calling for democratic reforms

ALGIERS // Algerian authorities surrounded about 1,500 protesters in a peaceful sit-in in the capital Algiers inspired by pro-democracy unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against the Algerian regime and called for democracy in the North African country. Police, who outnumbered the protesters, separated about 50 government supporters carrying portraits of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from the anti-government demonstrators.

Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on Thursday that the country will lift a 19-year-old state of emergency before the end of February. Mr Bouteflika said on Feb. 3 that demonstrations, banned under the state of emergency, would be permitted across Algeria, except in the capital.

The end of the state of emergency has been a rallying point for protesters who staged demonstrations across Algeria last month. The measure was imposed after the cancellation of the country's first multiparty elections that Islamists were set to win in 1992.