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Protests spread across Arab world

7 years ago620 views

ODN

ODN


Anti-government protests have spread across the Middle East and North Africa, with clashes in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.

Troops in armoured vehicles took control of the Bahraini capital Manama after police firing buckshot and teargas drove out protesters hoping to emulate the demonstrators who toppled veteran leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

It was the worst violence in the Gulf island kingdom in decades and a sign of how nervous the Saudi-allied Sunni al-Khalifa royal family is.

Three people were killed, 231 were injured and opposition leaders said dozens were detained and about 60 were missing.

Hundreds of Yemenis clashed on a seventh day of protests on the other side of the Arabian peninsula, and in North Africa there were reports of new unrest in Libya.

A "Day of Rage" promoted on social media websites started with little sign of activity in the capital Tripoli, where supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, in power for 42 years, staged a rally in his support.

But there were reports of clashes in the nearby town of Al Bayda between government supporters and relatives of two young men killed during a protest a day earlier.

It is now two months to the day on Thursday since a young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, triggered the wave of protests by setting himself alight outside a government office in Sidi Bouzid. He was venting frustration at poverty, official corruption and police brutality in the country.

Tunisia's ageing strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled a month later, followed a week ago by Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Opposition groups in a dozen or more countries hope hope the Arab world will experience a "domino effect" of the kind that swept communists from power in eastern Europe in 1989.

Leaders from the Gulf to the Atlantic have announced a variety of measures to ease rising food prices and unemployment and to enhance political participation.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates said on Thursday it would treble the number of people the rulers would choose to vote for members of an advisory body that serves as a form of parliament. But Middle Eastern leaders have also tightened security.

The army in Bahrain, a country of 1.3 million people out of whom 600,000 are native Bahrainis, issued a warning to people to stay away from the centre of the capital and said it would do whatever was needed to maintain security.

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