World Bulletin / News Desk
Over 30 people were injured in Thursday clashes west of capital Algiers between security forces and protesters opposed to presidential polls now underway countrywide, local media reported.
Protesters torched several ballot boxes in a polling center in the Mechdala district of the eastern Bouira province, the private KBC channel reported.
"Some of those injured are soldiers who had intervened to disperse the crowds in Mechdala with teargas," a local official told Anadolu Agency.
Four polling centers in Mechdala and three in the town of Saharij were temporarily shut before security forces stepped in following the violence, the official added.
Earlier Thursday, electoral authorities in Bouira announced that voter turnout had reached 5.7 percent as of 10am local time.
In the town of Ayt Arzin in the eastern Bejaia province, meanwhile, 19 ballot boxes were torched overnight by unknown perpetrators, the private Al-Shorouk television channel reported.
Nearly 23 million Algerians are eligible to vote in Thursday's election, in which six candidates – including incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika – will vie for top office.
Bouteflika, who cast his ballot from a wheelchair on Thursday, is widely expected to win a fourth term as president, despite concerns about his health and opposition calls for a new head of state.
Thursday's vote will be monitored by more than 300 foreign observers dispatched by the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and the United Nations.Last Mod: 18 Nisan 2014, 10:02