The Algerian army will preserve national security “in all circumstances and conditions”, Deputy Defence Minister Ahmed Gaed Salah told Ennahar TV, amid continuing protests by Algerians demanding rapid political change.
Gaed Salah is also the armed forces chief of staff.
Ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika abandoned a bid for a fifth term in power but stopped short of stepping down, raising suspicions he is buying time.
His initiative after three weeks of mass demonstrations against his rule has not defused anger and school teachers began a strike in several cities on Wednesday to keep up pressure on the 82-year-old head of state.
Bouteflika delayed elections and promised to hold a conference on Algeria’s political future.
Thousands from all social classes demonstrated almost daily against a political system dominated for nearly 60 years by the military and veterans of the 1954-62 independence war against France.
Bouteflika has ruled for 20 years but is rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.