Algeria police arrest anti-government demonstrators

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Algerian police arrested around ten demonstrators at an anti-government protest in Algiers on Saturday, an AFP journalist said.

Nearly 300 protesters tried to march in the capital, prompted by calls online by the “Hirak” protest movement that has gripped Algeria for over a year. But large numbers of police dispersed the marchers, the journalist said.

Prominent Hirak activist Samir Benlarbi was among those detained, according to a prisoner support association.

Hirak normally holds weekly protests on Friday, while students march on Tuesdays. But for the past three weeks protesters have also gathered on Saturdays in Algiers.

Following a march last Saturday, Amnesty International criticized the “arbitrary” arrest of 56 protesters.

At least 20 are accused of “incitement to unarmed assembly”, among which eight are due to stand trial on April 2, the rights watchdog said.

After forcing the resignation of longstanding president Abdelaziz Bouteflika last April, Hirak supporters have continued protesting to demand systemic reform.

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