Students protest in Algerian capital

ALGIERS, Algeria — About 500 students have rallied in Algeria’s capital, part of the wave of unrest in Arab world to register discontent with national governments.

Monday’s protest near the ministry of higher education follows scattered strikes and protests in recent weeks in defiance of a ban on public gatherings in Algiers dating to a bloody Islamic insurgency in the 1990s.

The students want the government to scrap a new law that dilutes the value of their diplomas by giving equal status to less-qualified degree holders in the job market.

Police were out in force, and some students claimed they were beaten bloody with police sticks.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to lift a 19-year-long state of emergency, including the ban on public gatherings, by month’s end.

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