Over the last few months, food prices have risen to what officials
acknowledged as record levels. They included a 150 percent increase in
the price of sugar and 75 percent rise in cooking oil.
The regime of President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika has vowed to reduce prices
on staples by mid-January. Officials said the government has already held
talks with food importers.
"Those behind the rise in basic food items have been greedy merchants,"
Algerian Trade Minister Mustafa Bin Badeh said.
The worst clashes were said to have taken place in Algiers. More than
100 people were injured in fighting between stone-throwing young men and
anti-riot police. Police were said to have used tear gas and batons to
disperse the violent protests, which began in the western city of Wehran on
The rioters also targeted government buildings, police stations, banks
and foreign companies. In one attack, the franchise for the French
automobile manufacturer Renault was torched.
"Nothing can cast doubt on the resolute will of the state, under the
direction of the president of the republic, to intervene whenever necessary
to preserve the purchasing power of citizens in the face of any price
increase," a government statement said.