Internet providers were shut down and Facebook accounts deleted across Algeria on Saturday as thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations.
Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.
There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.
But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime.
Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
“The government doesn’t want us forming crowds through the internet,” said Rachid Salem, of Co-ordination for Democratic Change in Algeria.
On Saturday at least 500 had been arrested by early evening in Algiers alone, with hundreds more in Annaba, Constantine and Oran taking part in the so-called February 12 Revolution.
“The police station cells are overflowing,” said Sofiane Hamidouche, a demonstrator in Annaba....