Bahrain square becomes new center for Arab anger
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Thousands of protesters took over a main square in Bahrain’s capital Tuesday — carting in tents and raising banners — in a bold attempt to copy Egypt’s uprising and force high-level changes in one of Washington’s key allies in the Gulf.
The move by demonstrators capped two days of clashes across the tiny island kingdom that left at least two people dead, parliament in limbo by an opposition boycott and the king making a rare address on national television to offer condolences for the bloodshed.
Security forces — apparently under orders to hold back — watched from the sidelines as protesters chanted slogans mocking the nation’s ruling sheiks and called for sweeping political reforms and an end to monarchy’s grip on key decisions and government posts.
The unrest in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, adds another layer to Washington’s worries in the region. In Yemen, police and government supporters battled nearly 3,000 marchers calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a fifth straight day of violence.
Iranian lawmakers: Put opposition leaders on trial
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Hardline Iranian lawmakers called on Tuesday for the country’s opposition leaders to face trial and be put to death, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces left two people dead and dozens injured.
Tens of thousands of people turned out for the opposition rally Monday in solidarity with Egypt’s popular revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years in power. The demonstration was the first major show of strength from Iran’s beleaguered opposition after canceling planned rallies for the past year when authorities refused permission.
At an open session of parliament Tuesday, pro-government legislators demanded opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami be held responsible for the protests.
Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood plans political party
CAIRO (AP) — The long banned Muslim Brotherhood said Tuesday it will form a political party once democracy is established in Egypt but promised not to field a candidate for president, trying to allay fears at home and abroad that it seeks power. Still, the fundamentalist movement is poised to be a significant player in the new order.
Egypt’s new military rulers gave a strong sign they recognize that the Brotherhood, which calls for creation of an Islamic state in the Arab world’s most populous nation, can no longer be barred from politics after the mass uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak with 18 days of protests.
The Armed Forces Supreme Council included a former Brotherhood lawmaker on an eight-member panel tasked with amending the constitution enough to allow democratic elections later this year.
Yemenis protest for 5th day
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Thousands of people marching for the ouster of Yemen’s U.S.-allied president clashed Tuesday with police and government supporters, and at least three demonstrators were injured in a fifth straight day of Egypt-inspired protests.
Police tried to disperse the demonstrators using tear gas, batons and stun guns, but about 3,000 protesters defiantly continued their march from Sanaa University toward the city center. The procession gained momentum with hundreds of students and rights activists joining along the way.
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