Algeria doctors, militias, students push on with demos
ALGIERS - Auxiliary police, specialised doctors and university students pushed on with strikes and demonstrations in Algeria on Monday to push demands including improved pay and conditions.
Hundreds of members of the security militia spent the night at Martyrs Square in the capital and said they would not leave until President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had answered demands issued at a major rally last month.
"For the moment it's the status quo and we have still had no contact with the president's office," one of their spokesmen, Hakim Chaib, said.
The force was created during the war of the 1990s to 2005 and now numbers about 94,000 men.
They are demanding increases in pay and pensions, integration into the regular security forces and the rehiring of colleagues who have been laid off.
Specialised doctors in hospitals meanwhile planned sit-ins on Monday in teaching hospitals, according to spokesman Amine Benhabib, as part of an open-ended strike started two weeks ago.
They also expected a meeting with the health ministry, he said. "We're currently only at the stage of talks," added Benhabib, an orthopaedic doctor.
Among their demands is an end to obligatory work periods of between one and four years in remote regions on completion of their studies.
Students at universities across Algeria continued to skip classes in a protest movement that started in February to demand parity between old and new degrees delivered by the higher education authorities.
Algeria is one of the countries that has seen several demonstrations in a wave of protests across the Arab world this year.