News / Africa

Analyst: Algerian Leader Smart to Lift State of Emergency

Riot police officers detain a protester during a demonstration in Algiers, February 19, 2011
Riot police officers detain a protester during a demonstration in Algiers, February 19, 2011

Related Articles

Multimedia

Audio
  • Claud Salhani, an official of G-Risk, an international risk assessment organization, spoke with Clottey

TEXT SIZE - +
Peter Clottey

An official of G-Risk, an international risk assessment organization, says Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was “smart” in lifting the 19-year-old state of emergency, a concession to opposition groups aimed at preventing a wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

Claud Salhani says the government’s decision to appease opposition demands could help prevent a possible anti-government protest from toppling Bouteflika. A presidential order lifted the law Thursday when it was published in the government's official gazette.

“There is a simple explanation to that; he just has to look around him to see what’s going on. On the one side, he has Libya and Egypt, and Tunisia on the other. It’s change and adapt or face the same consequences as what is going on all around him,” said Salhani.

“I think he has learned a lesson, the easy way, let’s say, rather than wait for the uprising to come to him. He is pre-empting it, which is a very smart thing to do.”

Ending the emergency powers was one of the demands voiced by opposition groups that have been staging weekly protests in the Algerian capital.

The measure was imposed to help authorities combat Islamist rebels but, in the past few years, violence has subsided and government critics have alleged the emergency rules are being used to repress political freedoms.

Lifting the law is one change promised by Bouteflika in the aftermath of weeks of anti-government protests. Algerians have been demonstrating their objections to high unemployment and food prices in protests similar to those that led to the recent ouster of the Tunisian and Egyptian leadership.

Algeria's military-backed government first imposed the state of emergency on February 9, 1992, the date marked as the start of the country's civil war.

Salhani describes Bouteflika’s move as a victory for both the president and the opposition.

“Of course it’s a victory for the opposition and it’s a victory for democracy as well. Nineteen years of the state of emergency is more than enough. If he (Bouteflika) gives the protesters what they want, there is no reason for him to step down,” said Salhani.

“The perfect analogy is what Sultan Qaboos of Oman did in the (19)70s when he faced a rebellion. The rebels had a list of demands, which were very just; they wanted schools; they wanted roads; they wanted girls to go to school; they wanted hospitals, which they didn’t have under the old system, and he gave them all of that. And, then he said, ‘Now, what are you rebelling about?’ And the rebellion filtered out and died.”

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid