High security smothers Algeria protests.
ALGIERS SECURITY forces swamped the centre of the Algerian capital on Saturday, hampering bids by pro-reform activists to rally although a small number of protesters made it through the barricades.
A helicopter patrolled from the skies as police blocked off the city centre, erecting barricades on pavements, controlling the traffic and heading off anyone aiming to join two planned protests, AFP correspondents reported.
A rally called by youths through Facebook was due outside the main post office; the other, at nearby May 1 Square, was called by the National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNDC) against the "political system".
It was the seventh attempt since January by the CNDC to stage a weekly demonstration, along the lines of pro-democracy protests sweeping the Arab world, in defiance of a ban on protests in the capital imposed in 2001.
The group was established after rioting at January 21 protests over the high cost of living left five dead and 800 injured, but has since split over differences over the strategy for regime change.
A few activists were able to reach the May 1 Square, including Rally for Culture and Democracy lawmaker Tahar Besbes who was wounded and hospitalised in scuffles with police at an earlier demonstration.
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