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Mideast protests at a glance


Antigovernment demonstrators clashed with supporters of Yemen's longtime ruler and riot police in the capital of Sana during the ninth straight day of protests. In the city of Taiz, what appeared to be a hand grenade was thrown at a group of protesters, seriously wounding at least 48 people in the blast and the stampede that followed. Protesters set cars, a local government building and a police warehouse ablaze in the port city of Aden and three demonstrators were killed. Protesters demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a U.S. ally who has ruled the Arab world's poorest nation for 32 years.


Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving Egyptians packed into Cairo's central Tahrir Square in the first major rally since the fall of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak a week ago. They celebrated his ouster and pressed Egypt's new military rulers to uproot the rest of his regime and steer the country toward reform. In a statement, the military said it would no longer allow "illegal" demonstrations that stop production and will take action against them.


Clashes erupted in the capital, Amman, between about 200 government supporters and about 2,000 protesters. Eight people were injured in the first violence in nearly two months of weekly protests. Demonstrators say they were attacked with batons, stones and pipes. Protesters seek a constitutional monarchy in which the prime minister is elected. Currently, parliament is elected, but King Abdullah II rules by decree and retains the power to appoint and dismiss prime ministers and to dissolve parliament.

Saudi Arabia

A new party in Saudi Arabia says authorities detained its founding members earlier this week and told them they must withdraw demands for political reform as a condition for their release. The Umma Islamic Party said the detainees refused to sign the pledge. Political activity in Saudi Arabia, which follows strict Islamic rule, is severely restricted and all power rests in the hands of the ruling family. The Umma Islamic Party wants the kingdom's rulers to start a dialogue on reform.


Thousands of demonstrators rallied in the tiny East African nation to demand that President Ismail Omar Guelleh step down after two terms. Guelleh faces an election in April, but critics lament changes he made to the constitution last year that scrubbed a two-term limit. Guelleh's family has been in power for more than three decades. Djibouti is a city-state of 750,000 people that lies across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It hosts several military bases, including the only U.S. base in Africa.

Mideast protests at a glance 02/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2011 10:26pm]
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