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Algeria: 230 firefighters suspended, accused of treason for protesting

Algerian firefighters work at a scene of a fire in Algiers on December 19, 2012 [FAROUK BATICHE/AFP via Getty Images]
Algerian firefighters work at a scene of a fire in Algiers on December 19, 2012 [FAROUK BATICHE/AFP via Getty Images]

The Algerian Ministry of Interior has suspended 230 Civil Defence agents who protested recently to demand their rights, accusing them of "betraying their duties and responsibilities", local media reported on Monday.

Hundreds of firefighters took part in a peaceful march on Sunday in the heart of the capital Algiers, heading to the headquarters of the General Directorate of Civil Protection. They were calling for salary increases and an improvement to their living conditions and bonuses. Police used tear gas to disperse the peaceful protest.

The Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that the decision to suspend the protesting Civil Defence personnel "was taken in accordance with the basic law of Civil Defence employees."

READ: Arrests target protest activists in Algeria

The statement added that the decision comes "in addition to monitoring a flagrant and serious violation of the law by some Civil Defence agents … which is considered a betrayal of the duties and responsibilities entrusted to them, mainly aiming at destabilising and undermining the Civil Defence's integrity."

The statement indicated that the ministry decided to suspend 230 agents in accordance with the provisions of Article 173 of the General Basic Law for Public Service. With the aim of initiating legal action against the agents.

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