Algerian soldiers are protecting the president's office from police camped out nearby in a highly unusual demonstration of anger at the country's leadership.

The police protest entered its third day Thursday amid questions about President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's whereabouts and his fitness to run his large, gas-rich country. The police are angry over riots and attacks on their colleagues, and want better pay and more political support.

About 200 police camped out near the president's headquarters, where soldiers stood guard. A helicopter circled overhead.

The day before, police tried to force their way into the president's office.

The prime minister met with police representatives Wednesday night and pledged to consider their demands. But some police officers say the promises don't go far enough, and refuse to return to work.