As Algerian army retirees protest, NGO urges restraint

By Abdul Razak bin Abdullah

ALGIERS (AA) – An Algerian rights group on Monday called for dialogue to resolve ongoing protests by retired military personnel demanding higher pensions.

In a statement, the League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), a prominent Algerian NGO, said that National Gendarmerie forces on Sunday had forcibly dispersed a protest by thousands of army retirees in the Haouch al-Makhfi district of capital Algiers.

According to the LADDH, the dispersal led to clashes between protesters and gendarmerie forces, leaving an undetermined number of people injured.

Condemning the use of force against demonstrators, the NGO went on to urge that the dispute be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

It also called on frustrated army retirees to show restraint, saying that street protests alone “will not lead to solutions”.

For the last several months, Algerian army retirees and injured veterans have been staging protests to demand higher pensions and access to low-cost housing.

On Sunday, thousands of retired military personnel from across Algeria converged on the city of Boumerdes (located some 50 kilometers east of Algiers) with a view to marching on the capital.

The planned demonstration was called off, however, after security forces sealed the capital’s entrances with a view to preventing protesters’ entry into the city.