Anti-Government Protest in Libya; Demonstrations Continue in Yemen, Bahrain & Iran
by Brett Wilkins
A tidal wave of anti-government protests, inspired by the recent successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, continued to sweep across the Middle East today. Demonstrators in at least four different countries continue to rally, demanding better economic conditions and an end to tyranny.
Protests broke out in Libya today, with hundreds of demonstrators clashing with security forces in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city. Police used water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, some of whom threw stones and molotov cocktails and set cars on fire. The BBC reports dozens of injuries. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who has ruled the country since the 1960s, runs a particularly tight ship; such overt displays of dissent are exceedingly rare. The protests are said to have begun following the arrest of Fathi Terbil, an activist who represents the families of over 1,000 prisoners massacred at Tripoli’s Abu Salim jail in 1996.
In Yemen, protests are spreading like wildfire as anti-government demonstrations enter their sixth day. Demonstrators and pro-government mobs clashed in the capital city of Sana and in the port city of Aden. Al-Jazeera reports that 21-year-old Mohammed Ali Alwani was shot and killed during the unrest in Aden. Despite the presence of thousands of police and security forces, protesters, many of them students, remained steadfast in their demand for the ouster of 32-year dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. It’s not just students and the working class who are demonstrating in Yemen; a group of judges demanding greater judiciary independence and higher salaries have staged a two-day sit- in outside the justice ministry in Sana.
In Bahrain, two Shiite protesters have been killed over the last two days by security forces in this Sunni dominated emirate. One of the slain protesters was killed at the funeral procession of the other, Australia’s ABC reports. The policemen responsible for the killings have been arrested, but that will likely do little to assuage Bahrainis, thousands of whom have occupied the Pearl Roundabout in the capital city of Manama, tents and all. Shiite Bahrainis, who make up the majority of the tiny nation’s population, say the Sunni minority denies them decent housing, health care and public employment.
And in Iran, violence marred today’s funeral of Sane Jhale, an arts student who was killed by state security forces during anti-government demonstrations on Monday. Jhlale is one of two people confirmed killed in protests here, with dozens of protester arrests being reported by the Washington Post.
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