Moral Low Ground

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Dozens Killed in Anti-Government Protests in Bahrain, Libya & Yemen

February 18, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in American Government with 0 Comments

by Brett Wilkins

The dictators of the Middle East aren’t going down without a fight. As anti-government protests escalated in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, so has the states’ response. Dozens of peaceful demonstrators have been killed in the three countries over the last few days, but the tidal wave of revolution sweeping across the Middle East shows no sign of retreating.

In Bahrain, security forces raided peaceful protesters while they slept in a square in central Manama, the capital, Thursday. According to Democracy Now!, heavily armed riot police fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets into the surprised crowd, killing at least six people and wounding hundreds more. Bahrain’s main hospital is “flooded” with victims, and security forces attacked doctors, nurses and patients alike. Demonstrators were attacked again today. Bahrain’s special envoy to the United States, Latif Al-Zayani, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that his government’s response to the peaceful protests has been “proportional,” but the deadly crackdown has drawn a rebuke from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The United States strongly opposes the use of violence and strongly supports reform that moves toward democratic institution building and economic openness,” she said. “I called my counterpart in Bahrain this morning and directly conveyed our deep concerns about the actions of the security forces and I emphasized how important it was that, given that there will be both funerals and prayers tomorrow, that they not be marred by violence.”

In Libya, at least two dozen people have been killed in growing protests against the  dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who has ruled the country since just after man landed on the moon in 1969. Thousands of Libyans took to the streets of Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, to demonstrate against the government. Protests also took place in other towns and cities, but so far not in the capital, Tripoli.

And in Yemen, the largest anti-government protests to date have engulfed the capital city of Sana on this “Friday of Fury.” Around 20,000 people left Friday prayers and marched to the presidential palace. Yemenis are fed up with their dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 32 years. Gunfire erupted in Sana as security forces attacked protesters and killed at least four of them. The US embassy called the rise in violence “disturbing” and “contrary to the commitments that President Saleh made to protect the right of Yemeni citizens to gather peacefully to express their views.”

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