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Second independence: Algeria opposition to rally for 'change'

ALGIERS - Ignoring a government ban against rallies in the capital, Algeria's opposition plans massive pro-democracy

'We want a second independence'

Ignoring ban against rallies in capital, Algeria's opposition plans massive pro-democracy protests.

 

 protests here and in major cities across the country Saturday to "change" the political system.

"We want a second independence," leading government critics demanded in a video released on line by Algeria's El Watan daily Thursday. "We are the generation of rupture."

The Algiers march is being organised by the National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNCD), a three-week-old umbrella group of opposition parties, civil society movements and unofficial unions emboldened by the mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt.

Like their north African counterparts, the protesters have used Facebook and text messages to spread their call for change.

In the main western city of Oran, organisers handed out leaflets in universities and stores, vowing to go ahead with their march despite a ban by local authorities.

During the last opposition march on the capital on January 22, thousands of Algerian police blocked a march on parliament and clashed with pro-democracy protesters. Academics, students and paramedics have also staged strikes in recent weeks.

The opposition is demanding the immediate end of Bouteflika's rule, citing the same problems of high unemployment, housing problems and soaring costs that have inspired uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

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