News / Middle East

Unrest Engulfs Parts of Middle East After Friday Prayers

A Syrian pro-government protester shouts slogans during a protest following Friday prayers outside the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, April 15, 2011
A Syrian pro-government protester shouts slogans during a protest following Friday prayers outside the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, April 15, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Large demonstrations were reported in over half a dozen Syrian cities Friday, as opponents of the government demanded more freedom and called on the government to release political prisoners.  Large protests also swept at least a dozen cities in Yemen, as President Ali Abdullah Saleh addressed supporters in the capital Sana'a.

Syrian protesters march in Damascus

Thousands of Syrian protesters marched in the streets of a Damascus suburb Friday, shouting and chanting against the government. Witnesses say security forces used tear gas against the protesters who were marching towards the capital after Friday prayers.

A Facebook website supporting change in Syria showed videos of protesters marching in the streets of nearly a dozen Syrian cities.

In the mostly Sunni Muslim city of Homs, witnesses say protesters dispersed as security forces fired automatic rifles.

In the flashpoint port city of Banias, scores of protesters marched towards the city center to demonstrate against the government, despite the presence of army troops. In a move to appease protesters, the government announced the release Friday of some prisoners arrested during recent sectarian strife.

A video released by the opposition Sham TV showed dozens of protesters in Banias being beaten by what appeared to be Syrian secret police.

Media figures and academics sympathetic to the government tried to downplay the violence and alleged government brutality in interviews with two pan-Arab television networks.

Yemeni protesters march in Sana'a

Hundreds of thousands of pro and anti-government demonstrators also rallied in dozens of cities across Yemen Friday. The largest demonstrations engulfed the capital Sana'a and the flashpoint city of Taiz.

Friday, a group of influential religious and tribal leaders abandoned embattled Yemeni President Saleh, calling on him to step down. President Saleh, however, remained defiant.

In Sana'a, he told a crowd that millions of Yemenis support the country’s constitutional order and that they continue to support him as president.

In Bahrain, the country’s foreign minister said Friday that the government was not trying to dissolve the Shi’ite opposition Wefaq Party, despite moves towards that effect a day earlier. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner had expressed concern Thursday about the possible attempt towards silencing opposition.

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

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs