Two days of clashes between Arab and Berber communities have led to the death of at least 22 people in the Algerian city of Ghardaia, says the state news agency.
The city has seen violent clashes for the last two years between Arab and Berber rivals, but the last incident is the most violent one seen.
The deadly clashes took place in Ghardaia and two other nearby cities, Guerrera and Berianne.
APS news agency reported that police tried to suppress the clashes, while violence continued as rioters targeted shops, automobiles and public buildings.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika issued an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
According to a statement from the president’s office, the emergency plan put the area’s military commander in charge of security and local officials in an effort to restore the law and order.
The statement continued with the president urging the people "to help to restore calm and to preserve the age-old bonds of brotherhood which have always marked the region."
Ghardaia has been experiencing ethnic unrest between members of the local Berber community, known as Mozabites, and Algerians who speak different languages and follow a different school of Islam.
The two groups have been fighting over limited jobs, land and housing in the poor region.
Tensions increased in the region after a Mozabite cemetery was desecrated in December 2013, causing clashes which left hundreds of people injured and caused the death of dozens.