But the Interior Ministry, amid rising civil unrest, has deployed
thousands of security forces to
stop the Village Guard from establishing a protest camp in Algiers.
Officials, including Ouyahia, said the Village Guard was using the
revolution in Egypt as a model for social change.
"Some of the protesters were being paid to transform this into Tahrir
Square," Ouyahia, referring to the protest headquarters in Cairo, said.
The Village Guard, a force of more than 100,000, has been cited as a
leading element in Algeria's counter-insurgency strategy. The security
force, established nearly 20 years ago, has been deployed in rural areas of
Algeria used by Al Qaida and its allies.
Officers have called on the Interior Ministry to approve a salary
increase and full pension rights for the Village Guard. They have also
called for compensation for those dismissed from the service.
The Interior Ministry has been mulling proposals to phase out the
Village Guard. Officials said Interior Minister Daho Ould was examining a
recommendation to incorporate up to two-thirds of the officers in the
Village Guard into the Algerian Army. The rest would be offered to serve in
the security forces under the Interior Ministry.
"We hope to integrate the majority of the Village Guard in the police,"