Sunday, March 13, 2011

Libya A Diversion

The civil war in Libya is acting as a convenient cover for more repressive American backed regimes in the Middle East to continue their oppressive regimes and attack their citizens who are protesting. By focusing on Libya the silence of the International community is deafening when it comes to these attacks on legitimate protests.

Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of anti-government demonstrators blocking access to the financial district of Bahrain's capital on Sunday, as sectarian tension escalated in this tiny island kingdom.

The Persian Gulf kingdom, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, has seen weeks of demonstrations led by Shiites, who make up a majority of the population but say they are discriminated against by the Sunni royal family.

The confrontations Sunday were among the most violent since the military killed seven protesters on Feb. 17. They followed similar clashes Friday when security forces fired what protesters said were rubber bullets, and pro-government gangs armed with sticks beat back several hundred protesters near the royal palace.

At least one person was killed and scores were hurt on Sunday when Yemeni police fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters in Sanaa demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule, medical sources said. Meanwhile, protests continued in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

Four people, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed in protests around Yemen on Saturday, bringing the total number of dead during two months of unrest to above 30.

Yemeni security forces also fired tear gas and live ammunition for a second day in a bid to force students to vacate a protest camp near Sana'a University. Eyewitnesses say police and pro-government supporters also used wooden clubs and knives to attack the protesters. Dozens of casualties were reported.

Al-Jazeera TV reported that protesters in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden attacked and set fire to a police station for the second time in 48 hours. Al-Arabiya TV reported anti-government protesters also clashed with police in the city of Taiz, north of Aden, injuring several.

Yemeni protesters across the country have been demonstrating since mid-February, amid calls for the resignation of veteran President Ali Abdallah Saleh, who has offered sweeping concessions to the protesters.

In Lebanon, tens of thousands of supporters of the anti-Syrian March 14th coalition turned out in Beirut’s Martyr’s Square to commemorate the 2005 Cedar Revolution that forced Damascus to withdraw its troops from the country.

- Morocco's King Mohammed VI promised sweeping constitutional reforms, including real powers for a popularly elected prime minister instead of a royal appointee, as well as a free judiciary.

In his first speech after uprisings across the Arab world and less than a month after protests erupted in Morocco for more social justice and limits on royal powers, the king Wednesday pledged to draw up a new draft constitution.

The live broadcast was the first time the king has delivered an address to the nation since thousands of people demonstrated in several cities on February 20 demanding political reform and limits on his powers.

There have been other peaceful rallies since then, including in the capital Rabat and the country's biggest city Casablanca, with young activists campaigning for greater democracy using the Facebook social network to call for new demonstrations on March 20.

Six people were killed in unrest that erupted after demonstrations on February 20, including five found burned to death in a bank set ablaze by people whom officials labelled vandals.

Another 128, including 115 members of the security forces, were wounded in the violence and 120 people were arrested, the interior ministry said.

Dozens of vehicles and buildings were also damaged or set alight.

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