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Mideast protesters press leaders

Demonstrators calling for reforms chant and wave Bahraini flags near Pearl Square in the capital, Manama, on Tuesday.

Associated Press

Demonstrators calling for reforms chant and wave Bahraini flags near Pearl Square in the capital, Manama, on Tuesday.

SANA, Yemen — The continuing wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East led to a fifth day of protests Tuesday in Yemen while thousands of protesters swept into the main square of the capital of Bahrain, setting up tents and vowing to stay until the government agrees to major reforms.

In Iran, hard-liners in Parliament demanded that opposition leaders be executed for advocating protests that attracted tens of thousands of people.

Yemen

In the Yemeni capital of Sana, as many as a thousand antigovernment protesters marched through the streets, but it was large numbers of supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who appeared to have the upper hand, gathering in a downtown festival with music and nationalist slogans.

Young men in tribal dress milled around the entrances to the square bearing sharpened sticks and bludgeons, and pictures of the president, who has ruled Yemen for more than 30 years, suddenly proliferated on cars and buildings around the capital.

Yet despite a day of fewer clashes than before, Yemeni protesters vowed to press their street revolt until Saleh steps down. "Years of trying to keep the Yemeni people in ignorance and poverty have failed," said protester Jameel Awad, a 28-year-old taxi driver. "Tunisia and Egypt have shown us that nothing is impossible."

Bahrain

In Bahrain, the death of a second protester, killed when police clashed with mourners at a funeral assembly for a demonstrator shot Friday, prompted more than 6,000 people to march into Pearl Square in the capital of Manama. Many declared their intention to remain until the government addresses long-standing grievances over political discrimination and police repression.

Protesters have said their chief demand is the resignation of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the king's uncle and one of the wealthiest men in the country.

Iran

Hard-line lawmakers called for opposition leaders to face trial and be put to death, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces at demonstrations left two people dead and dozens injured.

At a session of Parliament, pro-government legislators demanded opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami be held responsible for the protests. Pumping their fists in the air, some chanted "death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami."

Egypt

The military vowed to hand authority to an elected civilian government in six months and ordered legal experts to draft a revised constitution in 10 days, so it can be submitted two months from now to a popular vote. The once-banned Muslim Brotherhood announced it would form a political party to run candidates when elections are held.

Information from the Associated Press and Washington Post was used in this report.

Obama: Coercion will not work

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that governments in the Mideast are figuring out that they "can't maintain power through coercion." He slammed Iran as an exception, accusing the U.S. foe of beating and shooting protesters. At a news conference, Obama said his message to friends and foes in the region is this: "The world is changing."

Associated Press

Obama: Coercion will not work

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that governments in the Mideast are figuring out that they "can't maintain power through coercion." He slammed Iran as an exception, accusing the U.S. foe of beating and shooting protesters. At a news conference, Obama said his message to friends and foes in the region is this: "The world is changing."

Associated Press

Mideast protesters press leaders 02/15/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:09pm]

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