Algerian protesters have pestered a Swiss hospital with calls as a new form of protest.
By Mohamed Amine Benabou
Rabat – Amid growing public outrage over the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s run for a fifth term, Algerian dissidents have devised a new form of protest, launching on Facebook a “phone call campaign.”
Algerians bombarded Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland, where they believe Bouteflika is receiving medical care, with a surge of phone calls enquiring about Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s state of health. The campaign is the latest in a series of protests, which has also seen Algerians create memes ridiculing the ailing president’s re-election bid.
The spokesperson of the hospital, Nicolas de Saussure, said only a few phone calls were “unfriendly.”
According to Swiss broadcaster RTS, the number of calls has been estimated at 3,000 per day on average. On Tuesday, March 5, the hospital received more than 1,500 calls, stated de Saussure.
A video that was secretly filmed confirmed the presence of Bouteflika at the hospital in Geneva. Bouteflika has only been in Switzerland since late February but has continually been seeking treatment in Switzerland since 1980.
Algerians also swamped the hospital’s Facebook page with comments and private messages, forcing moderators to deactivate the page.
The hospital switchboard could hardly handle the number of calls. They also had to increase a number of evening standby staff because it had an impact on the overall performance of the hospital.