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Police pounce on protests in Algiers

Police pounce on protests in Algiers
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Police in Algeria have moved swiftly to break up anti-government protests in the capital Algiers.

A coalition of human rights groups, trade unionists and opposition parties are calling for weekly marches through the capital.

Authorities have refused permission for the protests to go ahead, citing public order concerns. As many as 30,000 police have been deployed around the city in a highly visible show of force.

Algerian demonstrators have been inspired by similar anti-government protests in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt. Those on the streets are fed up with high unemployment and soaring costs and want an end to the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The government has offered concessions including the promise to lift the country’s 19-year state of emergency at the end of the month.