While violence escalated in Tripoli and the US announced sanctions against Libya, tens of thousands joined a ‘Day of Rage’ across the Middle East and North Africa.
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In Tunisia, where protesters forced former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee sparked revolt throughout the region and where thousands of Libyans have now fled, tens of thousands demanded the resignation of the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, who is seen as an ally of Ben Ali. Indeed, it was the largest rally held in Tunisia since Ben Ali’s ouster.
Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square in the thousands to demand that reforms occur at a faster pace: In particular, the Guardian reports, they want to try Mubarak, who is reportedly in his Sharm el-Sheikh villa, to be put on trial for his 31 years in power. Protesters also called for the release of political prisoners and for the prime minister, Ahmed Shafik (who is said to have been hand-picked by Mubarak) and other members of the cabinet to be replaced. According to the New York Times, Egyptian bloggers and activists report that the military used tasers and beat protesters gathered in Tahrir Square and outside the Parliament building.
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In Palestine, the Palestinian Authority (PA) had called for a Day of Rage to protest against the US veto of a UN security council resolution condemning Israeli settlements; this protest was called off without explanation, says the Guardian. An unofficial protest was held in Ramallah, the main city in the West Bank. 5000 also protested in Amman, the capital of Jordan and demanded political reforms.
At least six were killed in protests across Iraq, three in Mosul and three in Hawija, and some 75 injured in clashes with security forces. Protests also occurred in Basra, whose governor, Shaltagh Abboud, said he would resign after 18 were injured in classes with security forces. 4000 protested and called for better education and health services, high unemployment, a shortage of drinking water and frequent power cuts.
This video shows protesters marching in Iraq.
This video shows protesters injured in the demonstrations in Iraq.
In Yemen, 30,000 anti-government demonstrators were reported to be gathered in the capital of Sana’a, while more than than 100,000 rallied throughout the country. It was the biggest pro-democracy rally in the country’s recent history, with calls for an end to the 32-year reign of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. From the Guardian:
Students, tribesmen, opposition activists and young professionals flooded the streets around Sana’a University, where protesters have been camped out since Sunday. “The people want the regime to fall,” they shouted, rising from their knees after a Friday prayer to mourn the deaths of two men shot dead on Tuesday by pro-Saleh supporters.
The protest was peaceful, though at times tense. Protesters want better living conditions as well as political reform. One banner read simply: “Look at the gap between the rich and poor.”
Tens of thousands protested in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. Protests calling for democratic reforms have been ongoing for the past two weeks. Two marches in Manama ended in Pearl Square, which has become the focal point of the demonstrations.
Many protesters waved Bahrain’s red-and-white flag, chanting: “No dialogue before the government is dissolved,” and “For Bahrain’s future, we are not afraid to be killed.”
One procession split into separate groups of men and black-robed women, passing skyscrapers adorned with images of the nation’s ruling family.
Some demonstrators called on the US to do more to support them: The White House says that the national security adviser, Tom Donilon, spole with Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, on Thursday and stated ‘the US’s support for reforms through dialogue with opposition groups.’
The government has also declared Friday a day of mourning for the seven people killed since the protests began on the 14th of February.
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Photo of protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo by magdino20 | Maged .
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