Algeria has been facing the heat of the protesters who have been carrying out anti-government protests in the country since February 2019 but amidst the crisis due to the pandemic coronavirus, all anti-government protests have been suspended since last week.
Per the official figures, the pandemic has killed 26 people and infected 409 in Algeria.
Algerian government has been accused of using the coronavirus crisis to crack down on independent media with the arrest of the Algerian journalist, Khaled Drareni on March 27. Khaled Drareni is the media correspondent from Algeria for the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
It is not the first time that Khaled Drareni has been arrested. In the past he has been arrested several times for covering “Hirak” anti-government protests being held every Friday since February 2019 in the capital city, Algiers. On March 7 while covering a “Hirak” protest, Khaled Drareni was accused of “inciting an unarmed gathering and damaging national integrity”. He was later released on March 10.
Confirming the news, the RSF’s North Africa Twitter account tweeted on March 27, “This evening Algeria arrested our correspondent Khaled Drareni”. It also denounced the “the shameless use of COVID-19 by the Algerian regime to settle scores with free and independent journalism”.