Inspired by Egypt, Algerians Take to Streets
Demonstrators demand political reform; hundreds arrested
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2011 9:45 AM CST
An Algerian protester holding an Algerian flag is chased by police in Algiers.   (Sidali Djarboub)
camera-icon View 8 more images

(Newser) – From Tahrir Square to Algeria's May 1 Square: Thousands of demonstrators inspired by Egypt marched in Algiers today despite an official ban on protests and a huge police presence, reports AP. Estimates of the crowd ranged from 10,000 to 30,000, and rights activists say at least 400 have been arrested. They're demanding political reform in the North African country, where poverty is rampant even though it's one of the world's biggest oil producers, notes the Wall Street Journal. Tunisia is a next-door neighbor.

Chants of "No to the police state!" and "Bouteflika out!"—meaning President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has ruled since 1999—could be heard. Algeria had smaller protests in January, immediately after Tunisia sent its leader packing, but the government restored order in part by reversing a hike in food prices. Hosni Mubarak's ouster apparently reignited passions.