Saturday, February 12, 2011

Arab revolution spreads as protests erupt in Algeria, Yemen

Thousands of people defied a government ban on demonstrations and poured into the Algerian capital for a pro-democracy rally Saturday, a day after weeks of mass protests toppled Egypt's authoritarian leader.

Some 10,000 people flooded into downtown Algiers, organizers estimated, where they skirmished with riot police attempting to block off streets and disperse the crowd. Some arrests were reported.

Protesters chanted slogans including "No to the police state" and "Bouteflika out," a reference to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power in this sprawling North African nation since 1999.

Under Algeria's long-standing state of emergency — in place since 1992 — protests are banned in Algiers but the government's repeated warnings for people to stay out of the streets apparently fell on deaf ears.

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