Algeria arrests 25 over jobs rally

ALGIERS — Algerian police on Sunday arrested roughly 25 unemployed people as they prepared to rally against joblessness near the presidential compound, a spokesman for the group told AFP.

“I was arrested with another young man and taken to the police station in El Mouradia,” said Samir Larabi, referring to an area in Algiers.

Larabi, spokesman for the unemployment rights group CNDCC, said he was subsequently released but 25 of his colleagues were still held at various police stations.

The group had called the rally to demand more jobs, improved unemployment benefits and the right to demonstrate freely.

Algerian police on Wednesday briefly detained 17 people as they prepared to hold a rally commemorating bloody pro-democracy protests of 1988.

Algeria, a country of 35 million people, has an unemployment rate of 11 percent, according to the World Bank.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government has faced protests resembling those that ousted an entrenched dictator in neighbouring Tunisia, but the protest movement has not swelled, contained by security forces.

Meanwhile, some 50 teachers who lost their jobs after their short-term contracts expired, launched a hunger strike outside a ministry of education building Sunday, demanding that they be reinstated.

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia had in March ordered the education ministry to make teachers’ contracts permanent but this excluded those without a graduate degree.

Protestor Abdlkader Zitouni told AFP the education ministry had not acted on the March directive.

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