ALGIERS, Algeria – Algeria's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to lift a state of emergency that has been in place for 19 years.
The government had already announced the plan, but the Cabinet gave it formal approval Tuesday.
The move is seen as a bid to defuse spiraling and potentially dangerous discontent in Algeria amid successive uprisings in the Arab world.
It comes after protesters in Tunisia and Egypt toppled their longtime presidents in massive street demonstrations, and as Libya continues to wage a bloody crackdown on protesters there.
The lifting has not yet taken effect, and the exact date that will happen is still unclear.
The state of emergency was declared in the early 1990s as Algeria descended into a civil war between Islamists and government forces, a yearslong battle that killed up to 200,000 people. Violence has tapered off, and attacks by militants are now only sporadic.
The government long insisted the state of emergency was a necessary tool in the fight against terrorism, but critics say it has been used to muzzle the political opposition.
Though the contents of the government's plan are not clear, authorities are expected to maintain a ban on street demonstrations in the capital, making the government's move only a partial victory for opposition forces seeking the right to protest.
The lifting of the state of emergency will take effect when a decree is published in the country's official gazette. The exact timing of the publication is still unknown, but Tuesday's statement from the presidency said it would be "imminent."