Far more serious from the regime's point of view is the unrest that broke out
again this week among many of the regime's armed auxiliaries.
On Monday (9 July), some 40,000 police auxiliaries, known as Communal Guards,
tried to march on the capital from Blida to demand pay rises and the same
as the troops and other security forces. They marched 48km in the heat before
reaching Birkhadem on the outskirts of Algiers where they were stopped by
of police. Extensive fighting took place between the protesting Guards and the
police, with some 50-60 people injured. The wide press coverage of the
showing pictures of armed police battling community guards, has shocked
The Communal Guards were set up in 1994 to bolster local police in villages
across the country where authorities were locked in a deadly confrontation with
armed Islamist groups. This auxiliary corps numbers 93,000 men, who are
the same benefits as policemen and troops. Specifically, they want pay rises,
round-the-clock health insurance to replace the current eight-hour coverage
while working, and retirement after 15 years of active duty.
They are also demanding the option of joining the ranks of the police or the
gendarmerie, a French-styled paramilitary police unit.
In March 2011, some 10,000 Communal Guards flooded the streets of Algiers with
similar demands, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations.
According to our sources, the Communal Guards have now been joined in their
demands by another group of auxiliaries, the 'Patriots'. We are uncertain of
In addition, we are hearing that similar concerns and possible unrest may be
spreading among the 100,000 or so ex-military servicemen (those no longer in
service, but regarded as reservists) who are also becoming concerned by their
of rights and the action being taken by the Communal Guards.
If all three of the country's auxiliary-cum-reservist units bring their protests
together, as this week's events might suggest, the implications for the regime
could be extremely serious.
For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.
© 2012 Menas Associates