Algeria

Algerian opposition calls rally despite ban

Reuters/Farouk Batiche

An Algerian opposition party has called for a rally in Algiers on Saturday calling for more democracy. Authorities have called on residents to ignore the call.

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The authorities have refused permission for the protest organised by the left-leaning Rally for Culture and Democracy, which is strong in the Berber-majority region of Kabylie.

Security services are on alert and local officials have been told to do nothing to worsen the situation, the Oran Daily said.

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

This week, eight people have set themselves on fire in the country.

Five people died and more than 800 were injured in protests over unemployment and rising prices earlier this month.

The government responded to the protests earlier this month by reducing the prices of basic necessities such as oil and sugar, while buying up a million tonnes of wheat and insisting that subsidies of essential goods like flour would continue.

Students at the Mouloud-Mammeri University at Tizi-Ouzou have said that they will back Saturday's protest in Algiers, although the rally is banned under a state of emergency law introduced in 1992.

Algeria's League for the Defence of Human Rights and four trade unions say they have scheduled a meeting for Friday to discuss youth unemployment.

In Tunisia, similar unrest sparked the overthrow of the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose 23 years in power ended with his flight to Saudi Arabia last Friday.

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