Government supporters, foes clash again in Yemen.
ALGIERS, SANAA – Reports out of Algeria say the North African country has shut down Internet access and eliminated Facebook accounts as pro-democracy protesters seek to topple the government much as Egyptians did in their nation this week, pc world magazine reports. The report from The Telegraph of London says some 30,000 riot police were used to disperse crowds in Algiers and that journalists have been targeted by “state-sponsored thugs.”
Reports of the international hacking group Anonymous blocking an Algerian government website have also surfaced.
Protesters against President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s regime in Algeria have been encouraged by the success of anti-government movements in Egypt and Tunisia (a neighbor of Algeria) organized to a great extent via the Internet and social media. Egypt’s economy reportedly lost $90 million by blocking Internet access.
The protests and Internet crackdowns in these countries have revived talk in the United States of giving the president an Internet kill switch.
On the other hand, for at least the third day in a row, clashes broke out between pro- and anti-government protesters in Yemen’s capital Monday morning, CNN informs. About 200 anti-government protesters were rallying outside Sanaa University calling for regime change as they have since the weekend, when about 300 counter-demonstrators carrying pictures of President Ali Abdullah Saleh confronted them.
The anti-government protesters included at least 150 members of a lawyers’ syndicate, who were marching through the streets on their own shouting anti-government and anti-corruption chants, before meeting up with students from Sanaa University.
The two sides threw rocks at each other, and later brandished daggers and knives. Eyewitnesses said the pro-government demonstrators had the weapons, while the anti-government demonstrators were armed with sticks. Some security forces at the scene tried to separate the two sides, while others stood on the sidelines. The anti-government protesters accused the counter-protesters of being plainclothes policemen, a charge denied by a government spokesman.
Several protesters were arrested by security forces, said human rights activist Abdulrahman Barman.
CNN employees were told to leave the scene for security reasons as a crush of protesters was pushing up against the gates of Sanaa University, trying to flee the pro-government protesters. More and more security came out and was attempting to clear the crowd. Witnesses reported later that most people had left and the scene was becoming calmer.