Algeria Lifts State of Emergency
As protests continued to rage in Libya and Bahrain, the government of Algeria took steps Tuesday to appease the public, lifting a state of emergency imposed 19 years earlier. The order repealing the state of martial law will be published “imminently,” putting it into effect, government officials said.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika pledged to lift martial law three weeks ago as protesters filled the streets. Demonstrations were sparked by the successful ouster of long-time, repressive rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.
The government declared a state of emergency in 1992 as Islamist militants waged war over the government's decision to ignore elections that gave a majority to a Muslim party.
Opponents of Bouteflika's regime have called for democratic reforms. Algerians have also protested rising food prices.
While the state of emergency will be lifted, government officials said demonstrations will remain illegal. Protests have been held despite the ban on rallies, leading to clashes between protesters and troops that left five people dead.