By Nangayi Guyson – President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria has said state of emergency will be lifted in the “very near future.” quoted as saying by local media.
The announcement comes after growing pressure from the country’s opposition groups, some of whom have been inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
The opposition has reportedly been planning to hold a protest march in Algiers next week.
During Thursday’s meeting, Mr Bouteflika also reportedly urged the cabinet to adopt measures to promote job creation and said Algeria’s TV and radio should give airtime to all political parties.
According to president Bouteflika in a meeting with government ministers in the capital Algiers, public demonstrations are currently banned in Algeria ‘s capital but would be only allowed everywhere in the country.
The president said the state of emergency had been imposed “for the only purposes of the fight against terrorism, and it is this reason only which has justified maintaining it on a legal basis”.the country’s state-run media said.
The banned demonstrations endured a brutal conflict with Islamists in the 1990s but it remains unclear when the emergency laws – imposed in 1992 – will be repealed.
Algeria – like other countries in the region – has recently witnessed demonstrations for greater freedoms and there have also been riots over rising food prices.