The “Arab Springs” which commenced in Tunisia in late 2010 and extended to Egypt and Libya through the early months of 2011 also resonated in Algeria. Throughout January 2011 and to a lesser degree the whole first quarter of the year, there was significant turmoil in cities across the country. Teenagers shrouded intifadah-style in scarves, hurled stones at riot police and attacked public property whilst demanding sugar and other basic food products whose prices had rocketed supposedly due to bottlenecks in supply and distribution.
The Algerian authorities responded to the protests by reinforcing the subsidies on food products and by announcing in March - to much surprise - the lifting of the State of Emergency, in place since 1992. This measure, which had been sought for years, considerably restricted public liberties. Its lifting however, was not complete since the law was kept in place for the capital, purportedly for security motives so as to avoid possible terrorist attacks such as those that took place there in 2007.
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