At least 2,000 killed in Algerian quake

The death toll from a devastating earthquake in northern Algeria has risen to more than 2,000.

The death toll from a devastating earthquake in northern Algeria has risen to more than 2,000.

The announcement comes hours after furious crowds hurled debris and insults at the country's president when he visited the quake zone.

Many blame the government for the high death toll and shortages of food and water after the 6.8-magnitude quake flattened villages east of Algiers on Wednesday.

The Interior Ministry said at least 2,047 people were killed and 8,626 injured.

The death toll is expected to rise as bodies are pulled from the rubble and Hakim Mohand, of the Algerian civil protection unit, said it could reach 3,000.

The anger comes as Japanese rescue workers announced they pulled a survivor - a 21-year-old waiter - from the rubble of a hotel on the Mediterranean coast.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika tried to tour the quake-ravaged town of Boumerdes on Saturday, but angry crowds harangued him with shouts of "pouvoir assassin!" - a common slogan roughly translated as "the authorities - killers."

President Bouteflika cut his visit short. Police fought to hold back the crowd as he drove away, with many people throwing chunks of rubble and other objects at his car and some kicking the cars in his motorcade.

The president faced similar anger later in the day in Lakhdaria, where one elderly protester loudly accused the government of misappropriating international aid meant for quake victims.

He later shrugged off the protests, calling them "testimony to the vitality of Algerian youth".

The abuse directed at Bouteflika and other officials was a bold display of criticism against a military-backed government known to clamp down on dissent.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox