(LNS) Emboldened by events in Egypt, thousands of protesters gathered in Algiers, Algeria, demanding a change in government.
The gripes of Algerians are similar to those in Tunisia and Egypt: unemployment, high food prices, corruption, and weariness with a police state offering no real democracy.
A state of emergency has existed in Algeria for nearly two decades. Fearful of the wave of protests sweeping the Middle East, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika claimed he would soon lift the emergency measures.
Protests are officially banned in Algiers, and hundreds of riot police confronted protesters.
France was rocked this week by revelations that the government authorized a shipment of tear gas grenades to Tunisia in the days before President Zine el Abidine ben Ali was toppled from power. Last year, France trained the dreaded Egyptian police force in crowd control as well. France has a long historical relationship with Algeria.