The unthinkable happens in Algeria as Facebook is shut down

Yes, the unthinkable has happened in Algeria – it has shut down Facebook. Algerians are seeing this as an attempt to stop protests about the country’s current leadership under President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime to spread worldwide.  The government has now shut down Internet providers and Facebook accounts have been deleted all over Algeria. On Saturday thousands were in the streets protesting. Many were arrested by the state security police and it is reported that more than 30,000 riot police were on the streets.

Why should we be concerned about events in Algeria? Well, it does have oil and ranks as being the 14th largest oil supplier in the world. It is also the 5th largest supplier of natural gas in the world and after Indonesia, it is the world’s largest supplier of liquid natural gas.

Algeria is in Africa and is bordered by Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and the Mediterranean Sea. Its size is around 930,000 sq miles and it has a population of around 35.7 million (2010).  It is the second largest country in Africa after Sudan and around 3.5 times the size of Texas.  Its capital, Algiers, is located in the north on the Mediterranean Sea. Its other major cities include Annaba and Oran which are also in the north.

Emergency Rule

For the past 19 years, Algeria has been under emergency rule.  As for Egypt, emergency rule prevents public demonstrations and restricts political activity throughout the country. Furthermore, the police have wide powers of search and detention and its president has more, or less ‘dictator’ – like status.  In recent times, there have been simmerings over the harsh regime and lack of freedoms in the country and current events look very much like those which ousted Egypt’s president, Mubarak, recently.

Mostafa Boshashi, head of the Algerian League for Human Rights, said: “Algerians want their voices to be heard too. They want democratic change. “At the moment people are being prevented from traveling to demonstrations. The entrances to cities like Algiers have been blocked.”

“The police station cells are overflowing,” said Sofiane Hamidouche, a demonstrator in Annaba.

Rise of ‘People Power‘ in Algeria?

Will Algeria go the same way as Egypt? Well it is looking so. What do you think? Let us know as we are always glad to have your stories and views…

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Africa & Middle East Contributor [primary news source: Daily Telegraph]


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