Municipal guards back to protest in Algiers

14:32, April 04, 2011      

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Algerian municipal guards attend a rally in downtown Algiers, Algeria, on April 3, 2011. Hundreds of Algerian municipal guards demonstrated Sunday in Algiers to claim their rights and demand better living condition.(Xinhua/Mohamed Kadri)

Hundreds of municipal security guards (village police) rallied on Sunday in Algerian capital of Algiers, protesting the government's non commitment towards their professional and social claims.

Official sources estimate the protesters are in hundreds, while representatives of the municipal guards say they were thousands to rally.

In fact, the protesters could not reach the Presidency Headquarters, in the district of El Mouradia of Algiers, due to the mass presence of police forces who managed bounding the protesters, and forcing them staying in Martyrs Square, a witness told Xinhua.

The 100,000 strong municipal anti-terrorism guards, who were engaged by the government in mid 1990s to fight terrorism in isolated and mountainous regions of the country, had been staging protest rallies in front of the Parliament since March 7.

They demand wage hikes similar to those of other security bodies, in addition to high compensation for the long years they spent in fighting terrorism. They still reject the proposal of Interior Minister, Dahou Ould Kablia, in terms of offering them anticipated retirement, or reintegrate them in the Army and official institutions as security guardians, in case the body is dissolved.

However, Kablia has declared before MPs that the government will take into consideration the majority of the municipal guards' demands.

The Municipal Guards body pertains to the National Gendarmerie and is in the bottom list of security bodies in terms of importance.

The protest of municipal guards, which is an unprecedented event among security corps in Algeria, was provoked by government' s decisions unveiled by minister Kablia last December, including preserving 60 percent of the municipal guards to integrate them in the army while the rest would be offered retirement or would be hired as security guardians in official institutions.

Source: Xinhua

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