First Algeria protests since lifting of emergency lawBy DPA, IANS
Saturday, February 26, 2011
ALGIERS/PARIS - Hundreds of protesters Saturday took part in the first demonstrations held in Algeria since the lifting of the 19-year-old state of emergency earlier this week, witnesses said.
The protesters gathered in the centre of the capital Algiers, despite the protest ban which is still in place.
Security officers maintained a large presence. In the past they have used violence to break up such demonstrations.
Supporters of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had also gathered on the city’s central square and chanted pro-government slogans.
The country’s state of emergency, in place since Feb 9, 1992, was officially ended Thursday. It had allowed the state wide-reaching powers to interfere in political activity.
Its lifting was one of the key demands of opposition protesters, who took to the streets over the past weeks inspired by the anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt, which led to the respective toppling of presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.