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Algeria Shuts Down Internet And Facebook

Algeria Shuts Down Internet And Facebook

Algeria is the latest country to shut down the Internet and Facebook, as thousands of pro-democracy protestors were arrested in violent street demonstrations last Saturday, February 12.

Call For An End To President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s Regime

From The Telegraph:

Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime.

Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

“The government doesn’t want us forming crowds through the internet,” said Rachid Salem, of Co-ordination for Democratic Change in Algeria.

“Security forces are armed to the teeth out on the street, and they’re also doing everything to crush our uprising on the internet. Journalists, and especially those with cameras, are being taken away by the police.”

500 People Arrested in Algiers

By the end of the day, at least 500 people had been arrested in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, and hundreds more in Annaba, Constantine and Oran.

Last month similar protests erupted: five people were killed and at least 1,000 arrested at that time.

Although Algeria has the eighth largest reserves of natural gas in the world, as well as a good supply of oil, it also has extremely high unemployment, poor housing conditions and high food prices.

State Of Emergency Imposed 19 Years Ago

The country suffered in civil wars between 1992 and 2002, when more than 160,000 Algerians died. The current president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was installed by the army in 1999, but a state of emergency has been in place since 1992.

On Monday, February 14, the Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci, promised that this state of emergency would be lifted. According to The Telegraph, Mr. Medici told the French radio station Europe 1 in an interview, “In the coming days, we will talk about (the state of emergency) as if it was a thing of the past. That means that in Algeria we will have a return to a state of law that allows complete freedom of expression, within the limits of the law.”

So far, protests have been organized by small minority groups with no central leadership, but with the recent events in neighboring Tunisia, and in Egypt, who knows what could happen next.

The Domino Effect

The domino effect continues, and perhaps events have moved forward enough that they don’t need the Internet anymore.

Related Story:

Unrest Spreads Through Middle East In Wake Of Egyptian Protests

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Photo credit: magharebia via Creative Commons

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73 comments

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5:24PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

noted

11:10PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

This is why each individual must ensure that every other individual has the right to speak freely to write freely and utter upon the opinions of others. You may not like what the other person has to say but they must have the freedom to say it.

7:31PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

I am algerian, we want changes like we did in 1988, we were not prepared at the time, our errors inspired tunisians not to do the same and preserve their revolution, but my question now is : Why are you lying, shame on you, you pretend to aim for justice and freedom for every one and you act like this, there were no shut down no ristriction of any kind on internet in algeria, you can check it with international internet traffic organisms, there is many problems in Algeria but we had (after many sacrifices) a free (the freeist) press in the arab world, you don't know algeria, every body speeks about us without even knowing us, stop this you are helping the regime by telling lies.

1:54PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Diane Wayne, it's true that Internet have no rules, no standards and no protection laws. But what rules do TV companies have we they show you only negative news, crimes, rapes, abductions, child abuse, all the bad things in the world, just for the reason that you'll be advised not to step out your perimeter, a tight square, enough to preserve the huge distance between you and the leading class. And in many of these negative facts they do not reveal the source of the news, cause "it's not professional ethic". Where are the good news gone, do they never occur at all? They mutilate your conscience, they prepare you to be a brainless vegetable, to work, and work, and work. For them. The leading class. In Spain they've raised the retirement age to 67. How long should we let them lead us like cattle? And yes above all is the Internet: without rules, without standards, without protection or laws. But as a fact this is ideal for us to express our opinions. Our wishes. Our dreams. Our way to freedom.

10:56AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

they're on their way for a long fight!

10:15AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

I'm with Jen H., and hoping for all the best ...

6:59AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

The situation in Algeria is particularly shameful because it really is a very wealthy country and yet the inhabitants are desperately poor. Corruption is at its worst in this country.

6:55AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Why can`t some goverments let people live in peace and freedom ?It`s beyond my understanding...

6:53AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Why can`t some goverments let people live in peace and freedom?It`s beyond my understanding.

1:25AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

This is why North Korea cracks down so hard on communication technology - so the abuses can stay in, and the truth is kept out. Algeria can never confiscate every camera phone or personal video recorder. The technology genie is out of the bottle and there's no putting it back. All repressive regimes try to control the flow of information so they can use violence against their own people to suppress protest, then later try to spin it as the benevolent, responsible government protecting the citizens from an "uprising". This can be an effective tool. I was shocked and saddened recently by some footage of some Chinese college students being shown the iconic photos of the heroic Tienemen Square protester who faced down the oncoming tank. The students either never heard of it, or referred to it as the time the government stepped in to protect the Chinese people from some "hooligans".

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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