Teachers in Algeria, along with other public sector workers, struck for three days last week in defence of their pensions and against cuts to the public budget, with another three days of action planned to start yesterday.
Despite the fact that demonstrations are illegal in the country, the union leadership called for a sit in outside government buildings yesterday. The government sent in hundreds of security forces which prevented many demonstrators from reaching the protests, including many of the leaders of the unions involved. However the unions held a conference on Saturday to plan out ways in which they could circumvent attempts by the government to stop their action and the protest went ahead, despite all the problems.
The government has attacked teachers for 'taking students hostage' by their action but union leaders point out that it is the government's complete refusal to enter a dialogue and to listen to the masses of voters opposed to the austerity measures which have caused the impasse.
Union leaders say that taken together the austerity measures will 'impoverish the mass of working people in the country' and that they are likely to lead to a 'social explosion.' More action is planned in the coming weeks it the government refuses to withdraw the proposals.