Riots spread over food prices in Algeria

Saturday 08 January 2011 01:00 GMT

Rioting broke out across Algeria again yesterday, with police deployed around mosques in the capital after days of violent protests against high food prices and unemployment.

Riot police armed with tear gas and batons maintained a strong presence around mosques in Algiers, while unrest spread outside the capital. The official APS news agency said protesters ransacked government buildings, banks and post offices in several eastern cities overnight, including Constantine, Jijel, Setif and Bouira. In the Belcourt district of the capital, rioting resumed after Friday prayers. Young protesters pelted police with stones and blocked roads.

Hundreds of youths clashed with police in several Algerian cities earlier this week. On Wednesday, riot police used tear gas to disperse youths in the Algiers neighbourhood of Bab el-Oued, where the most violent of the protests occurred.

The cost of flour and cooking oil has doubled in the past few months.

Unemployment stands at about 10 per cent, the government says. Independent organisations put it closer to 25 per cent. Official data put inflation at 4.2 per cent in November.

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