President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promised through official APS news agency that he would lift the state of emergency which has been in force for the last 19 years in Algeria "in the very near future," Government opponents, who have been inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have been pushing for its end. The promise to lift the banned on public demonstrations is seen as a bid stave off unrest.
Opposition groups in Algeria are calling a major protest on February 12 and they have recently made repeal of the emergency powers one of their main demands. As the anti-government forces in Tunisia have given an example, hundreds have been willing to publicly protest the ban on public gatherings in Algeria.
The state of emergency was imposed in 1990 after brutal fighting with Islamic fighters left tens of thousands dead but many people feel that the government's justification for holding such extraordinary powers has long pasted.
According to France24 Bouteflika told a meeting of ministers:
"In order to stop any unfounded speculation on this subject, I ordered the government to immediately draw up appropriate provisions which will allow the state to continue the fight against terrorism until its conclusion, and with the same effectiveness," the agency quoted him as saying.
Bouteflika said protest marches, banned under the state of emergency, would be permitted everywhere except the capital.
"The capital is an exception in this respect for well-known reasons of public order and certainly not in order to prevent any form of expression," he said.
Bouteflika also said the government should adopt new measures to promote job creation, and that Algerian television and radio, which are controlled by the state, should give airtime to all political parties, the official APS news agency reported.
Many rulers throughout North Africa and the Middle East are looking at the recent uprisings of the people in Tunisia and Egypt and taking steps to quiet the opposition in their countries. It remains to be seen if Bouteflika's promise will be kept.
And while the President has promised to lift the ban "in the very near future" the government warned on Wednesday that it would be in effect for the planned protest. The Washington Post reports:
Opposition leaders, human rights groups, unions, students and jobless workers are planning a march Feb. 12 in Algiers, the capital. They want the government to lift the state of emergency that has been in effect since 1992, end its ban on new political parties and generally be more transparent.
But Deputy Prime Minister Nouredine Yazid Zerhouni reminded organizers Wednesday that the march is "officially banned."
"Those who are calling for this march must take responsibility for damage or for things getting out of hand," Zerhouni told reporters, adding that the government had no plans to lift its state of emergency
So the stage is set for a revolutionary confrontation between the authoritarian Algeria government and it's freedom loving people on Feburary 12th.
A week ago we wrote of the Algerian opposition in:
2011-01-27 Algerians plan big protest rally for February 9
Here are the links to my articles at WL Central:
2011-02-13 Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
2011-02-12 Algeria Protesters Defy Ban, Demand Change
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
2011-02-10 Mubarak is Defiant
2011-02-10 Mubarak Expected to Step Down!
2011-02-09 The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
2011-02-08 The New Egyptian Normal: Thousands Demonstrate in Cairo, Alexandria
2011-02-06 Tunisia's Revolution Continues
2011-02-04 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
2011-02-04 Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
2011-02-03 Algerians plan Feb 12 protest against 19- year-long state of emergency
2011-02-01 Jordan's King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President's Assets
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-28 Mubarak Refuses to Step Down!
2011-01-28 Egypt is on Fire!
2011-01-27 Libya is in Revolt as Gaddafi Worries
2011-01-27 Algerians Plan Big Protest Rally for February 9th
2011-01-27 Tunisia Protests Continues as a Warrant is Issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-27 Tens of Thousands Rally in Yemen, Demand Change
2011-01-27 Mubarak Blinks as Egyptian Protests Continue for 3rd Day
Here is a recap of my other DKos dairies on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom