Algerian teachers who answered a call to protest against their precarious status on temporary contracts were brutally beaten by police at the end of last month as they engaged in a peaceful demonstration.

The teachers attempted to stage a sit in in front of the Ministry of Education in the capital, Algiers. Blocked off by the police, they moved to a square where they sat down, only to be attacked and arrested an hour later. Human Rights Watch reports that the Algerian government continually violates labour rights and the right to peaceful protest.

One teacher who has been on a temporary contract for three years said, according to HRW that 'about 10 policemen surrounded her and several kicked her legs. When she continued to resist while the police were forcing her into one of the buses, the policemen shoved her violently inside, injuring her arm. '

Other protesters from towns outside the capital were arrested before they could join the protest. They were later released without charge.

Meanwhile other contract teachers protested by engaging in a 245km walk, followed by an open-ended hunger strike. The government has threatened to terminate their contracts.

Both the Arab and International Trade Union Confederations (ATUC and ITUC) have expressed solidarity with the contract teachers.