Police forces have been deployed in large numbers this Friday, March 1st, in the capital Algiers, in anticipation of protests against Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, all police units have reportedly been instructed to prevent any media coverage of today’s protests. Private channels’ cameramen are said to have been prohibited altogether from filming.
The correspondents of several medias have been made aware by police officers of the prohibition of filming anywhere near the protests. The censorship went as far as preventing protesters from filming the large police presence set up in the capital early in the morning.
According to reliable sources, a directive issued by the Ministry of Communication has been sent to all public and private television channels, prohibiting them from broadcasting live images of the events.
‘TSA Algerie’ also reported that the same Ministry of Communication has issued a note to all embassies and consulates instructing them to systematically refuse visa applications made by the foreign press.
Regarding internet access, a number of reports from Algerian online media outlets and social networks emerged, of the internet being cut off in the centre of Algiers, where the regime fears a popular uprising the most.
At the moment of this article’s writing, the demonstrators have been trying to march towards the presidential palace, slowly making progress as the police fires tear gas.
The regime has also further infuriated the Algerian people, when a conversation between Bouteflika’s campaign director Abdelmalek Sellal (former prime minister) and oligarch Ali Haddad was leaked online a few days ago. In the recording made at Bouteflika’s campaign headquarters, the two men casually discuss ways to repress the demonstrators.
Most Algerians have been outraged by the recording, as Ali Haddad, an oligarch close to the president, appeared to get involved in political matters. For many, the conversation further emphasised the corruption levels within Bouteflika’s entourage.
Follow us on our facebook page for live updates.