Algeria's cabinet has adopted an order to lift a 19-year-old state of emergency in a concession designed to avoid the tide of uprisings sweeping the Arab world, but protesters said the measure did not go far enough.
A draft law approved by the cabinet would repeal the emergency law as soon as it is published in the government's official journal, the official Algerie Presse Service reported on Wednesday.
Ending the emergency powers was one of the demands voiced by opposition groups
which have been staging weekly protests in the Algerian capital that sought to emulate uprisings in Egypt and neighbouring Tunisia.
"The lifting of the state of emergency is still positive but it's not enough," Mustafa Bouchachi, chairman of the Algerian Human Rights League and one of the organisers of the protests, said on Tuesday.
"We need a real opening up for political, media and social activities so that the people can experience democracy for
themselves," he told the Reuters news agency.The emergency measures, long lambasted by international human rights groups, have barred peaceful protests, limited constitutionally granted political freedoms and allowed for what many described as arbitrary detentions.Measures 'for change'
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is 73, is likely to remain under pressure - both from protesters and from inside
the ruling establishment - to deliver more change and to explain to the public what he plans to do.
Algeria is a major energy exporter which pumps gas via pipelines under the Mediterranean to Spain and France.