Several people died or were injured during a scramble at the entrances of a stadium in Algiers shortly before a concert of Algerian rapper-star Soolking, whose song is dedicated to Hirak, the protest movement that shakes the country since 22 February, Algerian private media reported, without it being possible to confirm this information in the immediate future.
Five dead according to local media
"The concert-event of singer Soolking (...) in Algiers was marked by a terrible drama: five people - three boys and two girls - were killed and 21 others were wounded in a stampede," reports the site. TSA (All about Algeria), citing hospital sources. According to TSA, the scramble occurred "at one of the entrances to the stadium".
Scramble at Soolking concert in Algiers: 5 dead and 21 wounded https://t.co/xPfSjC9mUW- TSA Algeria (@TSAlgerie) August 22, 2019
The website of the Arabic-language private media group El Bilad reports "at least 5 dead during the Soolking concert in Algiers and a large number of wounded following a scramble", without further details. The site states that a representative of the Prosecutor's Office went to the scene and then to the Algiers hospital where the wounded were transported.
A jostling before the beginning of the concert
On the social networks, several people indicate, without citing sources and without specifying if they were on the spot, that the stampede occurred around 20 hours, one hour before the beginning of the concert which proceeded normally, evoking a stadium already full, while many people with tickets were still blocked outside. Neither the official APS news agency nor the national television report any incident in the immediate future.
Separately joined by AFP, four people who attended the concert and who were already inside the stadium at the alleged time of the stampede said they did not notice any incidents and were not aware of this jostling. At their exit, around midnight, no backup device was visible according to them.
A song sung by the protesters
The song The Freedom of the Algerian rapper installed in France, adapted from a song of football fans and dedicated to the "Hirak", was often sung by the protesters. The song was released last March, less than a month after the start of February 22 massive protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika - who has since resigned - and against the regime.