Algerian journalists and activists launched a solidarity campaign with Algerian Al Jazeera journalist, Khadija Benguenna, after she was "unjustifiably attacked" by a minister in the Algerian government who said she had provoked protests in the country.
Minister of Housing, Abdelmajid Tebboune, accused Benguenna of trying to provoke chaos and drag the country into an Arab Spring. He made the accusations during a press conference on Saturday on the sidelines of his visit to the Great Mosque of Algiers.
Tebboune said Benguenna used her position at Al Jazeera and her Facebook page, which has nine million followers, to cause unrest.
Speaking in his native dialect, he said: "Khadija Benguenna, may Allah not grant her success, said that the petrol prices have fallen and bid social peace farewell," adding, "I say that the projects of his Excellency, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, are on-going and I swear to God that no one will be able to stop them no matter what and no matter how low the petrol prices fall."
Benguenna had commented on the protests in Algeria, posting on her Facebook page: "The Algerian government won't be able to buy social peace this time around." She implied that the Algerian government has relied on distributing public funds in order to silence protesters after widespread protests and strikes, especially amongst doctors and teachers, as well as citizens protesting against the lack of development in many Algerian provinces.
The minister's comments provoked widespread anger amongst local and international media circles.