Algiers, Feb 17 (IANS) Amid massive protests and calls for change of regime, Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has agreed to lift the state of emergency that has been enforced since 1992.
“The state of emergency will be lifted before the end of February,” Ouyahia said addressing the three-party alliance, a constituent of the government.
“Several other measures relating to housing, employment and public service management, are to be announced too,” Xinhua quoted the prime minister as saying.
The three-party alliance has expressed indignation towards foreign interference in the internal affairs of Algeria in the wake of anti-regime protests that sparked in the region, following revolts in the neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.
Noting that the country has witnessed protests by the “sons of Algeria”, the prime minister said: “No body can turn the back on the people’s claims, no matter how they are being expressed.”
He said the events taking place in some Arab countries “are having impact on Algeria”.
Ouyahia has also urged the National Co-ordination for Change and Democracy, which has called for a protest march Saturday, seeking political reforms in Algeria, to “respect the law of the country and avoid committing sleeps which would lead to chaos”.
The announcement came two days after Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said the government “within days” plans to end its state of emergency.
The country has been witnessing widespread unrest over unemployment, poverty and rising prices. Following the mass uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Algerian protesters have increased pressure on the government to lift the 19-year-old emergency rule.
On Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in the eastern Annaba city. The day before, thousands of protesters defied a police ban and protested in the capital Algiers.