Protesters heckle president's men during campaign event for Algeria's April 17 election

A journalist traveling with Algeria's prime minister says the campaign speech he was giving for his boss in a southern desert city was disrupted by protesters who heckled him and threw stones at his motorcade.

Algerians elect a new president on April 17. In the last few weeks, several events for incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have been marred by protests. Bouteflika, 77, has governed Algeria since 1999 and is running again despite years of health problems.

Journalist Farid Abdeladim said Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, representing Bouteflika, left the campaign event Wednesday in the town of Metlili under a hail of stones. Police fired tear gas at the protesters.

Metlili is in Ghardaia province, where Arab-Berber riots killed seven people in the past few months and left 40 wounded Monday.