But in the capital, aside from a few hundred protesters, life carried on normally.
Algerians took to the streets of the capital Algiers Tuesday to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay presidential elections indefinitely.
Algeria's powerful military is expected to play a behind-the-scenes role during the transition and is now considering several civilians as candidates for the presidency and other top positions, political sources said.
"France expresses its hope that a new dynamic that can answer the deep aspirations of the Algerian people will rapidly take hold", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
On Monday, the 82-year-old Bouteflika announced that presidential polls slated for April would be postponed to a later date, yet to be decided.
He stopped short of stepping down immediately - and crowds who took to the streets of Algiers again on Tuesday said they wanted a quick transition.
"What gave the Algerian political system force was that it appeared to speak with a single voice and have the same objectives", said analyst Mohsen Finan.
However, he added that in certain political situations "it is the duty of those who have the decision to consider this postponement to meet the social demands".
Ms Northey said that given the scale of the protests against Mr Bouteflika's fifth term, it was important he had ruled himself out.
Meanwhile, Lamamra was appointed deputy prime minister.
Since the outbreak of protests last month, Algeria's army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has pledged to guarantee national security and criticized those he said want to return to the "painful years" of the civil war of the 1990s.
Political sources said the military would nearly certainly play a leading role in the transition process, and was assessing three or four civilians who could be eligible to become leaders.
Young Algerians are desperate for jobs and angry at unemployment, corruption and an elderly elite.
In remarks from Djibouti, President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Bouteflika's announcements as starting "a new page in the development of Algeria's democracy", even as he called for a "reasonable time frame" for a transition period.
"I think it's a sign of maturity". He said this would calm tensions, allow the country to move forward along a path of "serene, calm and public security", and let Algerian institutions "prepare as quickly as possible for the advent of a new era in Algeria".
Among them is Mustafa Bouchachi, a lawyer and activist who has built up a strong Facebook following during the protests. "The government can be changed but ... this mean nothing for Algerians who are calling for a real reform".
The protests are not expected to abate anytime soon, with another demonstration scheduled for Friday.