Algeria Lifting 19-Year State of Emergency

Leaders loosen up in bid to stave off unrest

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 4, 2011 1:18 AM CST | Updated Feb 4, 2011 7:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Algeria's president, apparently trying to stave off unrest, says the state of emergency that has been in place since 1992 will be lifted "in the very near future." President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has told ministers that state-controlled media should give air time to all political parties, and that protest marches—currently banned under the state of emergency—should be allowed everywhere except in the capital, al-Jazeera reports.

The repeal of emergency powers was one of the main demands made by opposition leaders ahead of a protest march planned next week. "Arab regimes are learning from the Egyptian experience," says a Harvard political analyst. "I think others who are in similar positions to Hosni Mubarak are learning from this experience and that perhaps the counter-productive thing to do is to crack down on protests."

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to lift the country's longstanding state of emergency soon.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to lift the country's longstanding state of emergency soon.   (AP Photo/Shane McMillan, file)
Riot policemen use their shields to protect against projectiles during a demonstration in Algiers last month.
Riot policemen use their shields to protect against projectiles during a demonstration in Algiers last month.   (AP Photo)
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