Security forces opened fire in Algiers Saturday as Muslim fundamentalists threw up barricades of blazing vehicles in the capital and defied Algeria's new army-backed rulers in other towns and cities.
About 35 people have died and more than 100 have been wounded in clashes which began after Friday prayers, raged into the night and resumed Saturday.Troops and police rounded up hundreds of Islamic Salvation Front supporters challenging the halting last month of a half-finished parliamentary election the fundamentalists were poised to win.
At least 42 imams (Muslim preachers) have been detained by security forces in the past month to stop the FIS from using mosques as rallying points for resistance to the new authorities and demands for an Islamic state.
An Islamic state is the main objective of the FIS, which won 188 of the 232 seats decided in the first round of general elections in December. The authorities canceled the second round in January and prevented a fundamentalist victory.
The FIS disputes the legitimacy of the ruling military-backed High Council of State set up after elections were scrapped. The front wants the electoral process to resume and calls the council a military junta with no popular mandate.
Gunfire rang out in four suburbs of Algiers Saturday and could be heard into the evening. Outside the capital, Algiers radio said clashes were still taking place in Batna, where at least 14 people were killed in battles since Tuesday.