Facebook Blocked in Algeria
Report: Facebook being blocked in Algeria
As massive street demonstrations are met with widespread violence in Algeria, the country is reporting that many Facebook accounts have been deleted or blocked by the government, in an effort to stifle protests against President Abdelaziz Boutifleka, activists on Twitter reported around midday in the country.
They also said that the government is working fast to cut off all Internet providers in the country. All part of the effort to quell Egypt-inspired protests aimed at ending the 12-year rule of Bouteflika.
Bikya Masr managed to speak to one protester on the ground in the capital Algiers. The vision of what she described is reminiscent of when Egypt shut down its Internet Service Providers and government-sponsored “thugs” attacked protesters during the 18-day battle that ended in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.
“It is chaos, but the protesters are trying to stay strong. The police are everywhere,” the woman, 24, told Bikya Masr, asking that she remain anonymous due to the security situation on the ground. “I have seen men and women get grabbed, assaulted, beaten and then taken to police stations. We are extremely worried about what is going on because there is not a lot of media here and the world doesn’t seem to be watching. People are likely getting tortured as we speak.”
Tens of thousands of Algerians were expected to take to the streets of Algiers as part of the first day of what Algerians are calling the February 12 revolution.
Mostafa Boshashi, head of the Algerian League for Human Rights told al-Quds that “Algerians are tired of facade democracy.
“People need real democratic change this time and we need our voices to be heard,” Boshashi added.
Boshashi told the newspaper that police are already preventing people from other cities to enter the capital, adding that this was to be expected.
“Many have already made it into the city,” he added.
People around the region have inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian protests, which drove their presidents from the two North African countries.
Egypt’s victory came on Friday, when Hosni Mubarak turned over power to the military.
The economic situation in Algeria led many to protest between January 5 and 9, but the police met the demonstrations with force and live bullets, killing at least three. Hundreds were wounded in the riots and the ministry of interior in the country said they had arrested 1000 people.
25 percent of Algeria’s 34.5 million are under the age of 14. Algeria has the eighth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and ranks 16th in oil reserves however, unemployment rates are at 10 percent, and possibly higher.
** Bikya Masr’s Manar Ammar contributed to this report.