General strike in public services paralyzes Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria — Public service labor unions have gone on strike in Algeria, paralyzed education, health, vocational training and the telecommunications industries.

Meziane Meriane, the head of the SNPEST teachers union, denounced workers' sinking purchasing power and told The Associated Press the protests Wednesday aimed to force the government to begin negotiations on "urgent pay rises."

Most schools in Algiers, the capital, were shut down amid the strike, there were long queues at hospitals and people struggled to withdraw money at cash machines.

At the Emir Abdelkader high school, a huge banner criticizing the government was hung.

Algeria's economy and stability have been deteriorating in recent months as the government has failed to tackle the country's economic crisis amid a slump in oil prices.

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