Fresh Anti-Government Protests Repressed Across The Middle East

20 Feb

Violent clashes continue to erupt across the Middle East as reports surface of Iranian officials using tear gas to disperse crowds in Tehran.

Fresh Protests Repressed Across Middle East Play video

A fresh wave of protests, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, has swept across the region, with demonstrations taking place in Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Iran and Djibouti.

Thousands also continue to occupy Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout after a week of protests which has seen sporadic violent clashes.

While each country has its own grievances, the protest movement is said to be largely caused by high unemployment, rising food prices and a large young population who are disillusioned with corrupt and repressive regimes.

Libya has seen the worst bloodshed, according to reports from doctors in the country who put the death toll at nearly 200 people.

Troops have apparently used heavy weaponry, such as machine guns, to fire at the crowds protesting against Colonel Gaddafi‘s 40-year rule.

Here is a round-up of the other key clashes across the region:

Iran: Opposition websites have called for more anti-government protests today and as people take to the streets, witnesses have reported seeing tear gas fired in Valiasr Square and outside the state television building in Tehran. 

Footage has also emerged apparently showing security forces on motorbikes, chasing protesters through the streets in the city of Shiraz.

The daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was reportedly arrested for taking part in a banned opposition rally, although it is believed she has since been released.

And there are also reports that protests have spread to the cities of Esfahan and Mahabad.

Yemen: Pro- and anti-government protesters have clashed in the capital Sanaa, with stones and missiles thrown between the two groups.

The embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh has offered to oversee a dialogue between his ruling party and the opposition in a bid to end 11 days of violent demonstrations.

He has already made a series of concessions, promising that his son would not succeed him as president and saying he would not seek another term in office.

Morocco: Around 2,000 people have gathered in the capital, Rabat, to demand a clean-up of government corruption and constitutional reform.

Some protesters are carrying Tunisian and Egyptian flags, but it is thought unlikely that Morocco will succumb to the revolutions sweeping across the region.

The protests have been peaceful and there have been no direct attacks on the country’s king. Police are currently keeping their distance from demonstrators.

Djibouti: The authorities have detained three top opposition leaders after several days of demonstrations.

Thousands have turned out for fresh protests and police have reportedly fired tear gas into the crowds.

New footage has emerged of demonstrations which took place in the country on Friday showing crowds of people calling for the resignation of the country’s president.

Bahrain: Thousands of people continue to flock to Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama, where protesters camped out overnight after troops and armoured vehicles left the area.

But the situation is calmer as opposition leaders meet to consider talks with Bahrain’s rulers after a week of protests which have killed at least six and left hundreds wounded.

Most protesters are Shi’ite Muslims, who make up 70% of the population. They claim the ruling Sunni minority keep them out of state jobs, housing and healthcare. 

However, there are reportedly Sunni Muslims also gathered at the roundabout, saying the protest is about unity, not division between the two groups.

Algeria: Police armed with batons yesterday thwarted a rally by thousands of pro-democracy supporters by breaking them up into smaller isolated groups and blocking their march route.

No firearms were used, but police tackled protesters to keep traffic moving and prevent a second protest a week after 10,000 people brought the city of Algiers to a halt.

The demonstration had been called by the Coordination for Democratic Change, but police were said to outnumber protesters, succeeding in keeping them away from main avenues and confined to the side streets.

Authorities have promised to lift a 19-year-old state of emergency that outlaws public gatherings in Algiers, by the end of February.

Huge police presence blocks large demos in Tehran

Suez Canal says Iran navy ships passage delayed 

Iran forces in streets to curb opposition rallies 


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