Friday, February 18, 2011

Protests spread across Middle East

Citizens across the Middle East have become emboldened by protests seen recently in Egypt which led to the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak. Believing they too can effect change in their own countries many have come out onto the streets to voice their anger. But as seen in the early days of protests that took place in Egypt three weeks ago, the authorities have meant peaceful protest with brutal force.

There have been demonstrations in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya and there is a wave of discontent sweeping across other Middle Eastern countries. But the protests have not been tolerated by the ruling governments. In Bahrain's Pearl Square hundreds were injured and at least four people died as police and the military moved against the crowds [BBC].

With a day of mourning and many funerals expected in the coming days the US has called for restraint. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton expressed her "deep concerns" at the shootings of demonstrators and said the United States strongly opposed the use of violence [BBC].

The demonstrations and a call for greater freedom was not only confined to east. In Libya in the north of Africa there is a growing wave of unrest. Protests started earlier this week in the second largest city of Bengazi in what has been described a "day of rage". But here too authorities have not been welcoming to the voices of discontent. Gunfire has been heard across the city and at least 10 bodies have been reported to have arrived at hospitals. Protests have spread to at least 4 other towns mostly in the east of the country where opposition to the Gaddafi regime is stronger. There are reports that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has turned helicopter gunships on his own people as protests spread to the capital Tripoli and has he and his supporters defended the so called "Green Revolution" that started 42 years ago [BBC / Telegraph].  

In further protests across the region one person was shot dead in Yemen yesterday adding to the more than 600 who have been slaughtered since December. It is a figure that is likely to increase as calls for freedom continue and authorities resist efforts in forcing them to relinquish their grip on power [Middle East unrest; country by country - BBC].

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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