Algiers police crack down as opposition defies protest ban
Police broke up an opposition march calling for democracy in the Algerian capital on Saturday, with troops out in force and streets barricaded to prevent protests in the wake of a popular revolt that toppled the president in neighbouring Tunisia.
Algeria’s capital awoke to a virtual state of siege on Saturday, with a heavy police presence and many streets blocked in order to prevent protesters from reaching the May 1 Square, where opposition groups planned to stage a pro-democracy march.
The opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) planned to defy a 19-year-old ban against marches in Algiers, despite warnings from the authorities and in the wake of a popular revolt that overthrew neighbouring Tunisia's long-time president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali only a week ago.
Here are some pictures taken by David Davidson in Algier and posted 22/01/11 @ 21:08
I found them through the Anonymous OpAlgeria board. You can see the whole collection on his Facebook page here. I copied some to my flickr account so that I could post them here.
In co-ordination with these protests on the ground the hacker group Anonymous has launched Operation Algeria. They have been supporting the struggle on the ground my transmitting and translating materials from the struggle. They have also been getting pictures and video out on the net - I'll have more later.
Through OpAlgeria Anonymous has launched DDOS attacks against 'Attaque DoS contre le site Internet du ministère de l'Intérieur algérien' and other government websites. [French seems to be the language of choice for OpAlgeria so I'm a little bit handicaped, having only gotten a C- in high school French 48 years ago.] Apparently they have already been sucessful at shutting down some Algerian websites and cracked one. They put there own "Message Presse Anonymous" on an Algerian government website.
But the government corrected that situation before I could post the link here. Check it latter anyway, it probably won't stay up long.
Anonymous also issued this video Press Release on Operation Algeria:
FREE-THINKING CITIZENS OF THE WORLD,
The Algerian government imposes, upon its own citizens, intolerable restrictions on their basic liberties. The Algerian government wants to enforce a future where injustices remain unchallenged and where existing exploitation of one man by another remains unpunished. The Algerian government hides the truth from its citizens and denies them free expression and access to information. Let's call for an end to censorship. Now is the time for freedom and transparency, a time for people to express themselves freely and to be heard from anywhere across the world. How else than through well informed citizens can a society prosper and flourish?
The Algerian government hereby declares itself an enemy of Anonymous and the people. Anonymous hears the cries for freedom from the Algerian people, and has decided to step up. We cannot, and will not, remain silent while this injustice is being done. Anonymous will help them in this struggle against oppression. We believe the Algerian attempts at censorship and oppression are doomed to fail if each one of us takes up our individual responsibilities: For only we, the people, decide to make it so.
To the Algerian government: Restrictions on the freedom of speech and denial of information to your citizens are in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and cannot be tolerated. Anonymous challenges all those who are involved in censorship. Not only will Anonymous take action, Anonymous will also make sure that the international media sees the horrid reality you impose upon your people. It is in the hands of the Algerian government to end this; continue your repression and you will be subject to civil protest - lend an ear to the claim of freedom from your people and the hostilities will cease.
To the Algerian people: We stand together and united against this oppression. This struggle is not just for you alone, but for the whole of mankind. Citizens are no longer quiet, and can no longer be simply peddled and choked into submission. When forced to by the threat of oppression, we can be loud as hell - and when the people roar, it will send shivers down the spines of all those who want to stifle our freedom and take our precious liberties away.
Anonymous is your brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters, your parents and your friends, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or place of birth. Anonymous is you. You will not be denied your right to free speech, free press, free association and your universal right to freely access information, both in real life and through the internet.
Join us in this battle for freedom of information worldwide! For as Edmund Burke once said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
And according to this video released by Leakspinner, they have even taken Algerian TV off line.
As Tunisia entered the second of an official three day mourning period for those killed in the uprising, protests continued on the streets with an interesting twist. Today, policeman, who were shooting demonstrators a little over a week ago, joined the protests! Demonstrators are not satisfied with the PM's pledge to quit politics after elections. They are demanding the dissolution of the interim government. According to Al Jazeera:
Thousands of demonstrators, including police officers, lawyers and students, have taken to the streets of Tunisia's capital, Tunis, in another day of unrest in the North African country.
At least 2,000 police officers participated in Saturday's demonstrations, according to the Associated Press news agency. They were joined by members of the national guard and fire departments.
Crowds gathered in front of the office of Mohamed Ghannouchi, the interim prime minister, and on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the main street of Tunis.
Elections are now expected within six months. On Friday Taoukif Ben Brik, a dissident Tunisian journalist who had been jailed for criticizing Ben Ali became the second person to announce his candidacy for president. Opposition leader Moncef Marzouki was the first.
Also on Friday Tunisia's main trade union, UGTT, announce that they were calling on the government to stand down. They called for a "collegial national salvation government to be set up, in accordance with the demands of the street and political parties". On Tuesday, they had withdrawn from the interim administration of PM Mohammed Ghannouchi.
Here is an interest story that just broke on the NYTimes about 30 minutes ago [6:07 pm pst] about how people are tracking the new government on Twitter:
TUNISIA INSIDER REVEALS DETAILS OF NEW GOVERNMENT ON TWITTER
Related Al Jazeera YouTube Videos:
Tunisia police join anti-government protests [2:18]
Tunisian protesters target ruling party [2:16]
Tunisia's ex-president's homes [1:49]
Also I heard today that members of Ben Ali's family showed up in Canada looking for asylum and were turned away.
Tunisians in France eye rare visit [2:12]
Gregory White on the Tunisian economy [5:35}
Tunisia's Islamists allowed to participate [2:57]
Listening Post - Why the revolution was not televised in the West l25:06]
This is very well informed as far as the role of the Internet goes.
Because Libya has 5.9 million cell phone users but less than 400,000 Internet users, Anonymous OpLibya is adopting strategies that focus more on spreading information via SMS.
Anonymous produced this video to explain the housing crisis in Libya:
Indymedia has this on Libya:
There are reports from Libya that YouTube has been blocked, largely because the videos of protests are being uploaded there. One twitter comment has said "Citizens of Bani Walid in #Libya said they will continue to take the streets until their demands are met". (Videos: Three clips of protest in Libya in Beida, the third-largest city in Libya. Reports of unrest in Zuwara, Zawiya, Tajoorah, Bayda, and Benghazi.
The Guardian printed this Friday:
We Libyans are just as hungry for a just and accountable government as our Tunisian brothers and sisters. The lack of resilient institutions will make our task more difficult. However, a worried Gaddafi was the first Arab leader to give an address on television about the events in Tunisia. He obviously disapproves, but also hopes to quell the protests that have started in some Libyan towns and cities.
This article is from last Sunday and so a little dated but it still has important and rare information about what has been happening in Libya recently:
Protests in several cities in Libya continued for a third day over the late completion of government subsided housing.
Last night hundreds of people broke into vacant houses and took over about 800 vacant units in Bani Walid city (180 kilometres south east from the capital, Tripoli).
Several activists on social network sites reported that over 600 units in similar projects in Benghazi were taken over yesterday by protesters that have been waiting for years to move in to their homes.
This L.A Times article from Thursday is good on political instability in Libya's ruling circles: LIBYA: Political power struggle amid rumors of Kadafi family feud
Recent developments in Libya suggest the political power struggle between moderates and the country's conservative old guard is back in full swing -- a spat some speculators trace to a rift in the inner circle of leader Moammar Kadafi's family.
Muammar Gaddafi regrets Ben Ali's fall [surprise, surprise] according to this article in Al Jazeera:
Gaddafi said the Tunisian people were the "victims of lies" broadcast on the internet which had played a large part in Ben Ali's ouster, adding that Tunisia was suffering bloodshed and lawlessness because its people were in too much of a rush to get rid of their president.
Foreign Policy has this article:
The Next Tunisias - Five Arab states that are ripe for revolution.
They list Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Jordan.
Here is a recap of my other DKos dairies on this subject:
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!
Free Software & Internet Show Communism is Possible
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom
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