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Algeria to End State of Emergency, PM Says

VOA News February 17, 2011

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia says the country's 19-year-old state of emergency will be lifted by the end of the month.

Mr. Ouyahia on Wednesday referenced the impact that protests taking place in several Middle Eastern countries have had on Algeria.

His announcement follows a statement by Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, who told a French radio station Monday that the state of emergency would end within days.

Opposition activists have said they plan to hold a rally Saturday in the capital, Algiers, following a rare protest there last week.

About 2,000 activists defied a long-standing ban on demonstrations in Algiers, chanting slogans demanding the ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The president has been in power since 1999. Many Algerians see him as an authoritarian leader who has failed to address widespread poverty and high unemployment - factors that also fueled the recent revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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