Algeria lifts state of emergency after 19 years

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 24, 2011 16:17 EDT
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ALGIERS – Algeria on Thursday lifted its state of emergency after 19 years following unprecedented protests last month that threatened President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decades-old regime, against a background of revolts across the Arab world.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has “ordered the cancellation of the extension of the emergency measure put in place by presidential decree on February 9, 1992,” said a statement published in the official gazette.

But the government indicated that the army will pursue its anti-terror fight, particularly against armed Islamic extremists who recently abducted an Italian tourist in southeastern Algeria.

Tuesday it said the move was imminent after it adopted a draft order repealing the emergency measures, which the government adopted when Islamists waged a protracted guerrilla war following the cancellation of local election results in 1991.

Those results would have given a majority to the now-dissolved Islamic Salvation Front.

The state of emergency gave free rein to security forces that effectively served to repress political freedom. The 1990s war turned into a bloodbath, killing up to 200,000 people, according to official figures.

Bouteflika pledged three weeks ago to lift the state of emergency as demanded by the opposition following unprecedented protests last month that left five people dead and more than 800 injured.

The 73-year-old ruler, in office since 1999, also Thursday placed anti-corruption “at the heart” of government action, in what appeared to be a conciliatory move to appease simmering public anger.

“Strongly determined to protect the national economy, the state placed the fight against corruption, parasitic practices and fraud at the heart of its action” he said in a statement read by his adviser Mohamed Ali Boughazi.

The announcement coincided with the anniversary of the creation of the main Algerian labour union (UGTA) and the nationalisation of the oil industry.

Corruption, and the perception that the political elite was plundering the country at the cost of economic hardship, was a key factor behind mass protests across the Arab world, including those that led to the ouster of the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • cannotvote

    Freedom lures!

  • Anonymous


    2011 isn’t turning out to be a really good year fer them goldurn dictators, is it ?

  • Anonymous

    That’s a smart move. Do you think we’ll ever lift ours here in America?

  • CozmicSeer

    Only if enough people would protest asinine laws like the unPatriot Act and others like it. I have sent many letters to my reps about these things but I fear many people don’t take the time to do the same. I once heard that it a rep gets 100 letters(not form letters either as they tend to disregard them), they note it. If they received 1000 letters, it gets their attention. If they received a lot more, you would probably see them act on it(except for the ones that are rednecks to begin with and wouldn’t listen to their own people unless their lives were at peril like the dictators in the Middle East).

    The only other option is to have some real third party that actually represents us and not the elites and the rich. Not too many Democrats or hardly any Republicans in that group.

    And one law we really need is that if a politician lies, he is immediately removed from office, forfeits all money he received and no benefits of any kind plus automatically is given a 10 year jail sentence with hardened criminals(maximum security prison). That kind of future would scare the hell out of them and would eliminate a lot of the scum that try to run for office.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/108morris108 mo108

    The voice of Algeria’s leading Dissident in Exile – ex Algerian Diplomat: Mohamed Larbi


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4SZ6QZNUER633OCGHZIP3ZVJDI Gary R

    When is the United States going to drop it’s state of emergency? The one instituted after 911. It has been renewed “quietly” every year since. Why does our so-called free media not mention it? So many questions and so few actually care.

  • Anonymous

    I like your proposal a great deal. I think that one of the biggest problems that we have in this country is the lack of accountability for those in congress. Jail time for crappy behavior would be a wonderful thing. Add to that a publicly financed system for all elections and we might actually see honest gov’t here.