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Algeria medics condemn ‘witch hunt’ by authorities against them

People come together to protest the poor conditions doctors face in Algiers, Algeria [SoumiaNinata/Twitter]

Protesting doctors have condemned Algerian authorities for the “witch hunt” against them in the streets of the capital.

Following the “illegal” protests staged by medics, pharmacologists and dentists in the capital Algiers, police forces have been accused of arresting citizens who are suspected of being part of the protest movement lead by medical unions over the last couple of months.

The Autonomous Collective of Algerian Resident Doctors (CAMRA) praised the success of the national march of its members on Monday despite the fact protests have been banned in Algiers since 2001.

The National Office of the Collective said in a statement that the demonstration had been peaceful and showed the “will, strength and pacifism” of the organisation despite the “unjust, immoral and illegal” measures faced by resident doctors since protests first began in January.

CAMRA revealed how several of its members were subjected to “violence” and forcibly arrested by being taken off buses and then abandoned in “isolated places far from the capital”.

Read: Security forces prevent Algerian doctors attending sit-in

Those arrested have claimed that they have been “treated as criminals” whilst detained in police stations.

On Tuesday morning, a group of doctors was arrested in front of the Bab El Oued University Hospital after police officers found their behaviour “suspicious” after they tried to go to the Mohamed Lamine Debaghine Hospital and refused orders to return home.

The group of doctors were released after 13 hours of detention at the police station in the Casbah with no explanation given of their arrest.

The Collective also affirmed that the movement will not yield to these methods “aiming at disrupting and dividing” them.

Many people have complained of being arrested at bus or metro stations by police officers this week after being asked to show their identity cards to determine whether or not they are in the medical profession.

Resident medics have been protesting against the compulsory civil and military services and the poor conditions doctors face when appointed to hospitals for a number of months but intensified their demands on the government last month after a number of medics were violently repressed by authorities after protesting outside the Mustafa Pasha Hospital.

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