Four Berber leaders arrested in Algeria
Police detained four leaders of the Berber protest movement in the northeastern part of Algeria on Sunday including its figurehead Belaid Abrika, the movement said.
The arrests were made in Tizi Ouzou, capital of the Grande Kabylie province, some 110 kilometers east of Algiers, when the four leaders refused to leave a courtroom where cases were being heard against 13 men arrested in riots during the country's recent local elections, AFP reported.
Abrika became the leader of the Berber movement, which emerged during what became known as the Black Spring of 2001, when riots against the central government in the capital and its security forces left at least 118 dead and about 1,000 injured.
He was arrested several times during a recent local election campaign, in which he and other leaders of Berber tribes called for a boycott of the polls.
Rioting broke out days before the vote, preventing the election from going ahead smoothly and injuring 310 police officers deployed to contain the unrest. A delegation of elders was sent to press the authorities in Tizi Ouzou to release the four leaders, and were told that the detainees would be freed later on Sunday. Moreover, barricades were set up in the streets and car tires burned in the city's Les Genets area in protest at the arrests on Sunday, locals said.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)