News / Middle East

Popular Protests Continue Against Many Arab Governments

Libyan anti-regime demonstrators at a burned police station in Tobruk, February 25, 2011
Libyan anti-regime demonstrators at a burned police station in Tobruk, February 25, 2011

Popular protests engulfed large swathes of the Arab world after Friday prayers, as anti-government movements appear to gain momentum.  Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators turned out across the Arab world after Friday prayers to express anger at their leaders.


In Benghazi, Libya, the center of an insurgent movement against veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi, protesters shouted that they want to overthrow his regime.

Benghazi and most of eastern Libya is now under control of the insurgents, in addition to growing sections of territory in western Libya, outside the capital Tripoli. Al-Arabiya TV reports that the coastal towns of Zawiya and Misrata, scenes of a ferocious battles between pro and anti-Gadhafi supporters Thursday, are now in the hands of the opposition.

In Tripoli, which remains under government control for the most part, the Friday prayer leader told worshipers that they should not challenge their rulers or create strife. Eyewitnesses reported that Gadhafi supporters fired on protesters in several parts of Tripoli, causing casualties.

Former Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham, an Gadhafi confidante, told Al-Arabiya TV that "talk of an outside military intervention in Libya makes it imperative to find a solution in the best interest of the nation."  It is time," he said, "for courageous decisions to be made." Mr. Gadhafi told Libyan TV Thursday that he has no "real power," but "just moral authority," like the Queen of England.

Despite the chaos and violence, a ferry boat succeeded in evacuating U.S. nationals from Tripoli to the nearby island of Malta. The deteriorating security situation has prompted thousands of Libyans and foreign nationals to flee the country in recent days. Bad weather and high seas have hampered several seaborne attempts to evacuate foreigners.


Several hundred thousand demonstrators also turned out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday, calling for the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. A similar demonstration took place last Friday, after worshipers held prayer services in the square.


Popular Protests Continue Against Many Arab Governments
Popular Protests Continue Against Many Arab Governments
Major protests also took place in numerous Iraqi towns and cities, including Baghdad, the southern port city of Basra and the Sunni Muslim towns of Samara, Tikrit, Baquba and Ramadi. In the northern town of Mosul and its outskirts dozens of casualties were reported after protesters clashed with security forces.

The most dramatic clashes took place in Baghdad where thousands of protesters gathered at the city’s Tahrir Square for what was being called a "day of rage." Al-Jazeera TV reported that hundreds of protesters broke through police lines on two Baghdad bridges to join the rally.


Tens of thousands of demonstrators also turned out in almost every province of Yemen Friday to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The daily protests began on February 16 and have grown in strength, despite pledges of political reform by Mr. Saleh.  President Saleh has governed Yemen since 1978 and has promised not to seek re-election when his term ends in 2013.


Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs