Algeria govt adopts order ending emergency powers


Algeria’s cabinet adopted an order to lift the country’s 19-year-old state of emergency, a concession designed to keep out a wave of protests sweeping the Arab world.

An instruction to lift the state of emergency will come into force from its “imminent” publication in the official gazette, the APS news agency reported.

The state of emergency was imposed to help the authorities combat Islamist rebels, but in the past few years the violence has subsided and government critics have alleged the emergency rules are being used to repress political freedoms, Reuters reports.

Ending the emergency powers was one of the demands voiced by opposition protests who have been staging weekly protests in the Algerian capital that have gathered a few hundred people.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced at the start of this month that the state of emergency would be lifted soon.

The lifting of the state of emergency will limit the military’s scope under the law to get involved in domestic security issues. But it is likely to have only limited implications for Algeria’s poltical life.

The emergency rules banned protest marches in the capital but Bouteflika said earlier this month this restriction would remain in force indefinitely.