News / Middle East

Anti-Government Protests Spread in Arab Countries

A crowd gathers as smoke billows from a building purported to be the internal security headquarters in Libya's second city of Benghazi in this video still grab, February 20, 2011
A crowd gathers as smoke billows from a building purported to be the internal security headquarters in Libya's second city of Benghazi in this video still grab, February 20, 2011

Security forces in Libya have opened fire again on anti-government protesters, while thousands of people have started protesting in Morocco, and people in Bahrain and Yemen continue to demonstrate for political reform.

In Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi, witnesses said security forces shot at mourners attending a funeral Sunday for protesters killed the day before.  The U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch has raised Libya's death toll during five days of unrest to 173.

Several thousand anti-government activists in Morocco rallied in Rabat Sunday to demand political reforms limiting the power of King Mohammed. Marchers shouted slogans demanding a new constitution, greater economic opportunities and a crackdown on corruption.

Thousands of Tunisians poured into the streets of their capital to demand the resignation of the interim government. The caretaker government has promised elections within six months, but has yet to set a date.   

In Bahrain, thousands of pro-democracy activists have re-established a tent camp in a main square of their capital as they consider an offer of dialogue from the minority Sunni rulers of the small Gulf kingdom.

Bahraini youth activists rejected that appeal Sunday and used a Facebook page to call for a general strike to press their demands.

In Jordan Sunday, King Abdullah called for "real" and "quick" political reforms to give the public a greater role in government amid popular discontent. Jordanians have been demonstrating since January for political and economic changes, with street protests that resemble the uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.

In Yemen, more than 1,000 students demonstrated Sunday in the capital, Sana'a, to press for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, while a smaller group of the president's supporters held a pro-government demonstration nearby.

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