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Algeria Briefly Blocked Internet After Online Call to Oust Army

Internet rights group, NetBlocks, reported on Thursday (August 8) that Algeria blocked internet briefly over a politico-security incident.

The group said data it had connected confirmed that: “YouTube and several Google services and websites have been blocked across Algeria on the evening of Thursday 8 August 2019 by state-run Algeria Telecom (AS36947) and other leading internet providers.

Explaining the possible reasons, it continued: “The restrictions come after the publication of a video where Algeria’s ex-defense minister Khaled Nezzar addressed “members of the National People’s Army” calling on them to “realize the demands of the people,” understood as to be a call for the public to oust military leader Ahmed Gaid Salah.”

The North African country is in a state of political flux as authorities look to chart a path in the wake of the “ouster” of former president Abdul Aziz Bouteflika.

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In an update on late Thursday, NetBlocks said: “The multi-hour nationwide restriction has been lifted as of 23:00 UTC. It remains unclear who ordered the block and whether further disruptions are due to be implemented.”

A number of African countries have resorted to blocking the internet for political and security purposes. Algeria has in the recent past blocked online access during the revolution that toppled Bouteflika and during national exams.

Ethiopia, Mauritania and Sudan have also resorted to the measure over security considerations. Chad recently lifted a one-year plus internet outage that was okayed by the apex court.

The United Nations has declared online access as a human right and media freedom groups have tasked government against using the measure.

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