Algerian riot police used truncheons and shields to beat back protesting lawmakers outside Algeria's parliament on Sunday. Several lawmakers were wounded and some 20 detained.
The nearly 100 lawmakers from the National Liberation Front, the majority group in parliament, were protesting a court's decision in December that froze the party's operations.
The party supports former Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis, a rival of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, for presidential elections later this year.
According to The AP, the lawmakers, joined by party activists, gathered in front of the parliament buiding at around midday. When they tried to start marching, police blocked their way. Fighting then erupted, with police using truncheons and shields against the protesters.
The injured included leading lawmaker Abbes Mekhelles, who was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured arm. About 20 lawmakers were detained.
Earlier in the morning, the lawmakers had shouted slogans against Bouteflika during the tense stand-off with about 100 riot officers outside parliament in the capital, Algiers.
Over an hour passed before the protest dispersed, with most of the lawmakers going into the parliament to participate in a vote on amendments to Algeria's electoral law. The vote was later postponed until Monday.
Riot officers backed by dozens of police took up station around the parliament and in surrounding streets early Sunday morning -- apparently to prevent the lawmakers' protest from evolving into a march through the capital.
The protesters branded Bouteflika a "dictator" and a "traitor" while calling for a "Free and Democratic Algeria," The AFP said. (Albawaba.com)
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