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Days of Rage spread on Facebook from Egypt to Algeria, Libya and Beyond

February 6th 2011

Arab Topics - Facebook Intifada 1

As part of widespread calls for opposition activity against various Muslim national leaders, numerous Facebook groups and accounts have been created to propagate the sort of intifada that has already shattered the government of Zine El abadine ben-Ali in Tunisia, brought Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian government to the brink of destruction, and yielded significant concessions from the governments of Jordan and Yemen. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are now calling uprisings throughout the Arab world, including  Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Algeria. 

The Volksrant daily newspaper of The Netherlands reported on February 2, for example, that social networking sites were also calling for ‘days of rage’ on February 4-5 to be directed against President Bashr al-Assad. Some pages on Facebook are calling for  non-violent and apolitical demonstrations, with some of them providing precise instructions regarding how to behave during the demonstrations.

Protesters in Tunisia and Egypt had made good use of social networking in the days and hours before demonstrations emerged there. And, after Mubarak’s government shut down the Internet in Egypt, overseas Egyptians also made use of social networking to keep up with events and stir people to action.

Following are examples of some of the pages that appeared on the social network: A day of rage is being planned in Yemen for February 3. One of the Facebook pages said: "O, Yemeni people, we will prepare for a non-violent popular demonstration [on February 3]. The demonstration is not affiliated with any political organization or religious sect. We ask that you help us to publicize this page."

Another page provided instructions on how to behave and avoid anarchy during the course of the demonstrations. Participants were advised to treat police officers respectfully, and to chant unified slogans condemning oppression and tyranny, all while avoiding sectarian or political differences. Further Days of Rage are planned for Yemen on February 11. President Salih of Yemen, due to demonstrations that have already taken place, yielded to demands and has declared that he will not stand for re-elections.

Similarly, Jordanian King Abdullah – after much milder demonstrations organized by the global Muslim Brotherhood – replaced his prime minister and cabinet. As in Egypt and Yemen, the Muslim Brotherhood and others who went to the streets and organized on social networks are not mollified. Salih and Abdullah continue to face further demands despite their concessions.

Day of Rage in Bahrain

Demonstrations are being planned in Bahrain for a 'Revolution Day' on February 14. One of the Facebook pages launched in support of the cause claimed that the popular uprising slated for this date would demand quick political reforms and improved living conditions for “all citizens without discrimination.”  According to another page, the demonstrators' goals were judicial independence, elections for the Shura Council, representation for all sects in the government ministries, restoration of seized lands and property, and the release of all political prisoners.

"The February 17, 2011 Intifada – Let Us Make It a Day of Rage in Libya"

Libyan leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi can expect Days of Rage on February 17.  Facebook pages are calling on supporters to head to the streets en masse to join in protests. A communiqué appeared on some pages declaring,  "Together, we will take part in creating a bright future for a free Libya. Our, the youth's, goal, is to live a life of honor, like the people in the oil countries, which respect their citizens and provide them with all the welfare services, such as housing, work and a value for human of life."  The communiqué called for the mobilization of as many people as possible at the demonstrations, asking supporters to use unified slogans that reflected their Libyan identity, rather than sectarian or party slogans, or resorting to violence.  The Facebook pages also explained to participants what to do in case they should get a dose of tear-gas.  One Facebook page declared, "The People Want to Topple the Regime – Libya, February 17," and "The Great Libyan Youth Are Revolting against Qadhafi the Dictator."

In response, Facebook pages were created expressing opposition to the planned demonstrations and in support of Al-Qadhafi. Following are some examples: "Against February 17 and the Attempt by the Malicious to Sow Civil War," and "The Security of Libya and the Libyans Is a Red Line."

Algeria's Facebook Intifada

As for Algeria, Days of Rage are planned throughout February. The former colony of France can expect demonstrations on  February 4, 11, 17, and 25, in support of which several Facebook pages were created.  The relevant Facebook pages read, for example, "The Algerian Day of Rage, February 4 and 11. Spread [the Word] as Much as You Love Your Homeland,"  and "The Algerian Day of Rage, February 17."  This page also contains information about the Libyan day of rage planned for the same day.

Cutting Edge Senior Correspondent Martin Barillas also edits Speroforum.com


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