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27.11.2019 Algeria

Police, protesters clash over Algeria poll: media

By AFP
Algerian presidential candidate Ali Benflis gesturing at another campaign event on November 19, 2019.  By Ryad KRAMDI, RYAD KRAMDI (AFP/File)
NOV 27, 2019 ALGERIA
Algerian presidential candidate Ali Benflis gesturing at another campaign event on November 19, 2019. By Ryad KRAMDI, RYAD KRAMDI (AFP/File)

Clashes took place Wednesday in northern Algeria between police and people protesting against an election meeting by a candidate standing in next month's presidential poll, journalists said.

"Outside the room where the meeting was to be held, stones were thrown and tear gas fired between protesters and police -- it was heated," a local journalist at the scene in Bouira told AFP.

Multiple news sites said several hundred protesters converged before the candidate -- Ali Benflis, a former prime minister -- arrived for his meeting, some 90 kilometres (55 miles) southeast of Algiers.

Several local news outlets reported many demonstrators arrested and several wounded.

Benflis, who was premier under president Abdelaziz Bouteflika between 2000 and 2003, was eventually able to hold his meeting, according to a video posted on his Facebook account.

The ailing Bouteflika stepped down in April after months of enormous protests against his two-decade rule.

But large demonstrations continued against Algeria's political establishment, fuelled afresh in recent weeks by significant opposition to the presidential election.

The poll is due to take place on December 12, but protesters view it as a sham designed to shore up the status quo.

All five candidates cleared to take part are known to have links to Bouteflika, including one other former prime minister who served under his tenure.

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