Algerian Police Hold Second Day of Protests Over Pay in AlgiersSalah Slimani
Hundreds of Algerian riot police held a second day of peaceful protests in the capital, Algiers over working conditions and pay.
The officers, dressed in their blue uniforms, marched through Algiers and gathered outside the presidential offices. Two helicopters hovered overhead. Officers taking part in the demonstrations say the average salary in the force is about $320 a month. Colleagues from other parts of the country plan to join the protest, they said.
“Traditionally, security forces have been treated well under President Bouteflika, and it’s the first time this core has rebelled,” said Riccardo Fabiani, a North Africa analyst at Eurasia Group in London. “But I think the authorities will manage to appease them somehow, because at the end of the day their requests are mostly economical.”
Police began protesting in the southern oasis town of Ghardaia on Oct. 13 after several policemen were injured in clashes between Chaamba Arabs and members of the Mozabite Amazigh community over perceived economic injustice. Two people were killed and businesses were torched during the riots, according to the official APS news agency.
Last year, there were 9,000 police interventions at demonstrations across the country, according to official data.
“Their reaction is normal, given the enormous amount of work on their shoulders,” said Ahmed Adini, a political science professor at the University of Algiers, of the police.
Interior Ministry adviser Djamel Buzertene said in a statement today that he wants to open dialogue with police to understand their demands.