More than 60 people were injured when a march supporting Gaza's Palestinians turned violent, including a journalist left in a coma, officials said today. The demonstration by about 30,000 people against Israel's offensive in Gaza occurred yesterday, the day of worship in mostly Muslim Algeria, and 40 civilians and 23 police officers were hurt, many by stone throwing, the Interior Ministry said. Hocine Ben Rabii, a reporter with the Arab daily An-Nahar, was struck on the head, knocked out and left bleeding in downtown Algiers for an hour before being taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery, his editor, Anis Rahmani, said in a telephone interview.
A state of emergency that has been enforced in Algiers since 1992, when an Islamic insurgency began, bans demonstrations. Friday's violence began when some young protesters tried to march toward the US or Egyptian embassies through the upscale El Biar neighborhood and clashed with riot police.
The Interior Ministry said the demonstration was "infiltrated by troublemakers" who looted some shops, damaged cars and destroyed bus stops and other public facilities.