Algerian authorities alarmed by Facebook protest call, blame ‘Zionist parties’


The Algerian interior ministry and security forces have been put on high alert in response to a call on Facebook for nationwide protests against President Abdul Aziz Boutefliqa and army generals seen as running the country behind the scenes on Saturday.

The government on Thursday held high-level meetings and ordered its security services to investigate the parties “inciting the youth” to protest against the regime, local media reported.

The interior minister, Dahou Ould Kablia, told the Ennahar daily newspaper on Thursday that “Zionist parties” were behind the Facebook call for an “Algerian revolution on Sept. 17, 2011.”

“Had it been people inside [the country], we would have exposed and arrested them, but the clues point us toward foreign parties in relation with the Zionist entity,” Ould Kablia said.

He said initial investigation showed that there was lack of popular support for the protest call, which he said was designed to “shake the domestic national order.”

“The choice of September 17 is no accident for the enemies of the Arab people,” Ould Kablia told the paper.

“The calls are failing to elicit any response and there won’t be any demonstrations or any trouble on this date,” he said.

But despite the government playing down the protest plans, National Police Director General Abdelghani Hamel has ordered all security services around the country be put on high alert, according the Moroccan online publication Hespress.

The Facebook page, which has so far attracted 2,500 members, states that Saturday will mark the beginning of a “revolution to expel the thieves of public money, a revolution to remove the military rulers, the revolt of the oppressed and the poor, the revolution era of democracy and the emergence of a free state with its free people.”