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Algerian police detain demonstrators

06 October 2011, 08:35

Algiers - Algerian police on Wednesday briefly detained 17 people as they prepared to hold a rally commemorating bloody pro-democracy protests of 1988, organisers said.

As organisers began arriving near the Mahieddine Bachtarzi National Theatre in the capital Algiers for the annual demonstration, they were greeted by plainclothes police.

"They started by rounding up those whose faces they knew, then they detained the president" of the Rassemblement Action Jeunesse (RAJ) group that had organised the gathering, said Hakim Haddad, its former secretary general.

After being held in various police stations across the Algerian capital the detainees were released.

RAJ usually marks the 1988 events by placing a wreath in Algiers' Martyrs Square, which is currently closed for construction.

Some 200 people died when protestors clashed with security forces in riots across Algeria on October 05 1988.

The unrest eventually led to the downfall of the single-party system dominated by the Front de Liberation National which had been in power since independence of the former French colony in 1962.



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