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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 19:45 GMT
Call for Algerian leader to go
Algerian riot police guard the parliament building
Police prevented demonstrators marching through the city
Members of parliament of Algeria's main political party have called on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit.

In a statement, a group of members of the National Liberation Front described Mr Bouteflika as a threat to stability.

Correspondents say their call has further widened divisions within the party ahead of April elections.

The statement came a day after some 100 MPs and protesters angered by a court decision to freeze FLN activities clashed with police.

The FLN is divided between a faction supporting Mr Bouteflika and another backing former prime minister Ali Benflis who was sacked last May.

Heart attack

"The FLN parliamentary group expresses its indignation at the abusive and inappropriate use of repressive means, the sole objective of which is to still the voice of the people's elected representatives," the MPs' statement said.

They said the deployment of riot police in Algiers to disperse anti-Bouteflika riots on Sunday proved the determination to oppress freedoms, undermine democracy and the political pluralism which the Algerian people fought for.

The AFP news agency reports that at the protest, FLN MP Abdelaziz Chalabi, had a mild heart attack when he was jostled by police who moved in to disperse the demonstrators.

Ali Benflis, leader of Algeria's FLN
Ali Benflis is an arch-rival of President Bouteflika
Several other demonstrators were injured during the clashes where protesters voiced support for the president's arch-rival, Ali Benflis who is seeking the presidency.

Mr Bouteflika, elected in 1999 with the backing of the FLN, has not yet officially announced whether he will run again for office.

He had previously worked with Mr Benflis to bolster civilian government against the impact of a decade of Islamist insurgency, and against the old guard in the military, many of whom sought to undermine them both.

Algerian PM sacked
06 May 03  |  Africa
Timeline: Algeria
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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