Protests calling for "democratic change", the lifting of a 19-year state of emergency and greater freedom for civil society and the media, have been planned by the newly-formed Coordination for Change and Democracy, an umbrella group of opposition parties, trade unions and human rights organizations.
"Algerians must be allowed to express themselves freely and hold peaceful protests in Algiers and elsewhere. The Algerian authorities cannot hide behind a 19-year state of emergency to stifle dissent," said Amnesty International.
“We urge the Algerian authorities not to respond to these demands by using excessive force”.
Algeria urged to allow peaceful protestsOn 3 February, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said the state of emergency would be lifted in the "very near future", however no date has been announced.
A 12-month state of emergency was imposed by the Algerian authorities on 9 February 1992, following the cancellation of the second round of Algeria's first multi-party elections which the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS), looked set to win. A year later, the state of emergency was extended indefinitely.