Algeria curbs food prices after riots kill three protesters (Roundup)
Jan 9, 2011, 15:29 GMT
Algiers - The Algerian government announced Sunday that it has taken measures to curb rising food prices, which had sparked riots across the country that left three people dead.
The government said it has slashed taxes on sugar and oil by 41 per cent until August 31, the official agency said.
More than 800 people were injured in the riots, Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia said, adding that 750 of them were members of the security forces. Around 1,000 protesters have been arrested.
'Right now, the situation is under control and security agencies are doing everything in their power to avoid direct confrontation with the demonstrators,' Kablia said on Sunday.
Calm was restored relatively early in some neighbourhoods in the capital, Algiers. Yet, clashes between demonstrators and police continued in at least three towns.
Schools and universities have closed down in the port city of Bejaia, although the Ministry of National Education said Sunday that classes have resumed Sunday in 45 schools that were affected by the riots in different provinces.
Gas stations still face difficulty in supply, but the railway resumed working on Sunday after it stopped for two days.
Two men were shot dead during riots in the town of Ain al-Hadjel, south of the capital Algiers. The third was found burnt in a hotel set on fire during riots some 50 kilometres east of Algiers.
The minister had described the riots as 'criminal acts' by young men who stormed into government buildings. He warned that the outlaws will be published.
Riots began in the capital and other towns Wednesday, after price increases for basic commodities were announced earlier this week.
Local reports said that Muslim clerics urged people to calm during their Friday prayers sermons.
The demonstrations came amid ongoing protests in neighbouring Tunisia over unemployment and living costs. At least 20 people have been reported killed there in confrontations with police.
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