time to start looking out for Algerian tweets and news.
The protest was not backed by the main trade unions or the biggest opposition parties. Nearly all members of Algeria's radical Islamist groups, which were banned in the 1990s but still have grassroots influence, stayed away.
Responding to opposition pressure, [COLOR=#366388 ! important][COLOR=#366388 ! important]government [COLOR=#366388 ! important]officials[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] say they are working hard to create more jobs and improve housing, and they have promised more democratic freedoms including the lifting of a state of emergency in force for 19 years.
The Interior Ministry statement on Saturday's protest said: "An attempt to organize a march was recorded today at May 1 Square by a crowd estimated at 250 people. Fourteen people were detained and immediately released."
Officials with the opposition RCD party, which helped organize the protest, told Reuters the demonstrators totaled between 7,000 and 10,000 and that 1,000 people were arrested.
Reuters reporters at the scene said protesters were outnumbered by police and by hundreds of onlookers milling around. A small counter-protest started up nearby, with people chanting "We want peace not chaos!" and "Algeria is not Egypt!"