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Tunisian Revolution and the Middle East

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Protests called for in Saudi Arabia for Friday for a Day of Rage. Tomorrow could be a very interesting day.

A bunch of people got shot there today for protesting.


Saudi Arabia police 'fire at rally'

Police reportedly open fire at several hundred protesters marching in eastern city of Qatif, AP reports.

Police have reportedly opened fire at a rally in Saudi Arabia in an apparent effort to stop planned protests there, AP news agency has reported.

A witness in the eastern city of Qatif told AP that gunfire and stun grenades were fired at several hundred protesters marching in the city streets on Thursday.

The witness, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared government reprisal, said police in the area opened fire. The witness saw at least one protester injured.

Government officials have warned they will take strong action if activists take to the streets after increasing calls for large protests around the country to press for democratic reforms.

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A bunch of people got shot there today for protesting.

Yeah definitely rough out in the Eastern province. If anything big is going to happen its going to have to be country wide because a Saudi response to a Shi'ite protest in the east is going to be Ghaddafi levels of messed up ****.

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Witnesses: Yemeni security forces fire live ammunition during protests

(CNN) -- Security forces fired live ammunition during protests Saturday in Change Square outside Sanaa University, witnesses said, as anti-government demonstrations swelled amid the chaos.

Abdullah Alansi, an anti-government protester, said security forces approached protesters soon after morning prayers.

"They told the protesters that they needed to remove their tents from the grounds and leave. The protesters refused. After that the security forces started attacking the demonstrators," Alansi said.

"About an hour after the security forces first shot live ammo and then threw gas at us, protesters started fighting back -- they started throwing rocks at the security forces," Alansi said. "Then the security forces retreated for about 15 or 20 minutes and then started attacking again."

Anti-government demonstrator Ala'a Al-Khowlani said more people came out to support the protesters after the attacks.

Al-Khowlani also said students were donating blood at field hospitals that have been set up, as wounded protesters are in "dire need of blood."

One person died Saturday from a gunshot wound to the head at Change Square, according to Waseem Al-Qurashi, a doctor and head of the field medical team outside Sanaa University.

Sameer Sameie, a medic working in one of the field hospital tents set up at the square, said security forces used tear gas on protesters, entered the crowd and beat some demonstrators. He said officers entered the tent where he was working and roughed him up, along with others.

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Good thing no one has the ability to send help to the Libyan people right now....

Too busy sending troops to oppress other peoples.


Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there, according to witnesses.

Bahrain television broadcast images of the troops entering the Gulf State, which lies between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, on Monday.

The images back up earlier claims by Saudi sources that a force had entered Bahrain whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

"About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain early on Monday morning through the causeway to Bahrain," the Reuters news agency reported a Saudi source as saying, referring to the 26km causeway that connects the island kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

"They are part of the Gulf Co-operation Council [GCC] force that would guard the government installations."

In Saudi Arabia, the SPA state news agency carried a government statement saying: "The council of ministers has confirmed that it has answered a request by Bahrain for support."

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Looks like the Saudi's have been spared, no major protests with heavy police presence in all major cities.

damn...I wanted the Saudis to revolt against that oppressive Wahhabist regime - then and only then can extremism be wiped away considering all the money they use to fund these radical madrassas in other Muslim countries

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Apparently the Saudi regime is going to intervene in Bahrain under the auspices of the GCC, not good at all


Saudi forces are preparing to intervene in neighbouring Bahrain, after a day of clashes between police and protesters who mounted the most serious challenge to the island's royal family since demonstrations began a month ago.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain is expected to formally invite security forces from Saudi Arabia into his country today, as part of a request for support from other members of the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council.

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The troops are there. The question is...what will they do?

Will they fire on the protesters if called to do so?

How will the people of Bahrain act this time if Saudi troops gun down Bahraini protesters?

Here's a video from a recent protest there.



Riot police in Bahrain have used tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to force a group of hundreds of anti-government protesters from blocking the capital's financial district.

A large number of officers reportedly fired "dozens" of tear gas canisters in an attempt to clear the area in front of the Bahrain Financial Harbour on Sunday, but protesters refused to fall back.

Footage of the scene on the video-sharing website Youtube showed one protester apparently being shot with a teargas canister at close range.

A number of people injured in the crackdown were taken away in ambulances.

Demonstrators have been camped out in front of the Financial Harbour site for more than a week, and on Sunday had threatened to form a human chain to block access to the facility.

Riot police also encircled demonstrators at Pearl Roundabout, the focal point of protests in Bahrain for nearly a month, firing tear gas canisters, according to witnesses.

"They are using tear gas in Lulu [Pearl Roundabout], and the riot police have circled the roundabout," a witness told Al Jazeera. "There were [also] many injured because of the rubber bullets that they used in BFH [bahrain Financial Harbour]."

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Street battles continue in Abidjan

Ouattara supporters advance on Gbagbo stronghold in Abidjan on another day of heavy fighting in Cote d'Ivoire.

Heavy fighting continued on Monday in Abidjan amid an ongoing power struggle between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent president, and those backing his political rival Alassane Ouattara.

Pro-Ouattara fighters were reported to have moved into the Yopougon neighbourhood held by Gbagbo loyalists. Gun battles raged near the home of army chief of staff Phillipe Mangou who has remained loyal to Gbagbo since November's presidential elections. Ouattara is internationally recognised as the winner of that vote.

The state-run RTI television station denied local reports that Mangou's house had been attacked. A spokesman for the pro-Gbagbo army, Col. Hilaire Gohourou, confirmed that the battle in Yopougon was ongoing, but refused to give any further details.

Elsewhere in the city, several witnesses reported heavy gunfire which seemed to originate from the central district of Williamsville, home to two large military camps, including the country's biggest gendarmerie camp, the AFP news agency said.

The fighting comes after Gbagbo supporters launched an assault on Saturday to drive pro-Ouattara fighters out of Abidjan's northern Abobo district.

A spokesman for Ouattara's government said the insurgents were not under his command or authority, but were acting alone.

"To my knowledge there is no decree taken by the president (Ouattara) to create a republican force. They are forming naturally ... There is nothing formal," Patrick Achi told the Reuters news agency.

Three fighters who had participated in last week's battles for PK-18 and Abobo, both in the north of the city, confirmed that they were now pressing south towards Gbagbo's presidential palace.

"We aren't going to remove Gbagbo by force, that's for the military to do," one fighter, who didn't want to be named, told AP. "We are simply fighting to protect the population from the police, who've been killing indiscriminately."

More than 400 people have been killed since the elections, and the fresh violence renews the spectre of the deadly civil war from 2002-2003, which divided the country into areas of rebel and government control. Nearly half a million Ivorians fled their homes.

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Good thing no one has the ability to send help to the Libyan people right now....

Too busy sending troops to oppress other peoples.

Thats a little simplistic, dont you think. For one, Libya doesnt ahve the Sunni Shiite overtones that Bahrain does. Secondly, and more importantly, Libya and Saudia are not on the same continent. To get to Libya, they would first have to march through Egypt, and youll have to forgive Abdullah if he thinks that the worst idea anyone has ever come up with.

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Thats a little simplistic, dont you think. For one, Libya doesnt ahve the Sunni Shiite overtones that Bahrain does. Secondly, and more importantly, Libya and Saudia are not on the same continent. To get to Libya, they would first have to march through Egypt, and youll have to forgive Abdullah if he thinks that the worst idea anyone has ever come up with.

Ha ha. No not really. I never said they should invade Libya.

There is plenty that could be done working with Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the area.

They sure as ****ing hell should not be using their soldiers to put down democracy in Bahrain.

But of course there's not much point in trying to defend some of the things these dictatorships do.

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Yemen deports foreign journalists

Security forces raid apartment in Saana and expel four reporters apparently over coverage of protests.

Yemeni security forces have raided an apartment shared by four Western journalists and deported them apparently over their coverage of growing anti-government protests in the country.

The expulsions on Monday came amid further demonstrations in the impoverished Gulf state.

Oliver Holmes, one of the journalists, said that said that one of the agents told him they were being kicked out because of their coverage of the protests.

"The situation in Yemen has got quite dire in the past three days," said Holmes, a British citizen, speaking by telephone from the airport in Qatar.

"We have all been reporting on the use of violence by the police."

The other journalists who were deported are Haley Sweetland Edwards and Joshua Maricich, both US nationals, and Portia Walker, a British citizen.

---------- Post added March-14th-2011 at 10:53 PM ----------


The governor of Yemen's Marib province has been attacked and wounded during an anti-government protest outside the local government headquarters.

Ahmed Naji al-Zaidi was stabbed in the neck by armed men who attacked his convoy, BBC Arabic reports. He is being treated in the capital Sanaa.

Weeks of protest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule have left about 30 people dead.

Six people were killed in clashes with riot police in Sanaa on Saturday.

During the weekend clashes, reports said hundreds of police moved in, using tear gas, water cannons and live bullets in Tahrir Square - where protesters have been camping out for weeks.

The unrest is affecting several parts of the country away from the capital.

In the port city of Aden, protesters set fire to a police station on Monday. Clashes were also reported in the southern provinces of Hadramawt, Taiz and Hudaydah, and in Jawf in the north-east, the AP news agency reports.

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Sounds like there is a massacre going on in Bahrain. Apparently Saudi, Qatari, and UAE troops are shooting protesters after declaring martial law last night. Extremely ugly.

Sick ****s.

Bahrain's government is now using Iran and Libya style tactics to take out their people.


Two killed in Bahrain violence despite martial law

At least two people have been killed and as many as 200 injured in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces in Bahrain.

A doctor told the BBC he was treating many people with head and gunshot wounds, and that soldiers and police were using ambulances to attack people.

The violence came as the government announced a state of emergency and called in Saudi troops to keep order.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appealed for calm and restraint.

"The use of force and violence from any source will only worsen the situation," she told reporters during a visit to the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

"Our advice to all sides is that they must take steps now to negotiation towards a political resolution," she added.

Mrs Clinton also said she had told Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal that "they, along with everyone else, need to be promoting the dialogue".

There were chaotic scenes at the Salmaniya medical centre, where many of the injured were brought.

A doctor at the medical centre's accident and emergency department said there were "many, many casualties".

"People are coming in with bullet wounds and injuries caused by rubber bullets. There are hundreds of people," he told the BBC. "We received one major case - a man whose skull had been split open by something."

Two other men were in a serious condition after being shot in the eyes, while a third had been shot in the back of the head, the doctor said.

"We were at the health centre in Sitra, and they shot at us. The doctors and nurses were all scared because the windows were being broken and we could hear the shooting. This is a disaster," he added.

He said police and soldiers - both Bahraini and foreign - had seized six ambulances, and then used them to attack protesters.



Hundreds of Syrians have staged a rare protest in the capital, Damascus, calling for democratic reforms and the release of all political prisoners.

Six protesters were reportedly detained by the security forces, a witness told the BBC Arabic Service.

The AP news agency said government supporters later broke up the rally by punching and attacking the protesters.

A Facebook group, The Syrian revolution against [President] Bashar al-Assad 2011, is said to have called the march.

A similar appeal on Facebook last month failed to bring protesters to the streets, but critics blamed a heavy security presence for the failure of that campaign.

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Bahrain forces in drive against protesters

Tear gas fired as security forces attempt to disperse protesters from capital's Pearl Roundabout.

Security forces in Bahrain have launched an assault on pro-democracy demonstrators camped out at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, the capital.

Armed security forces gathered in the area early on Wednesday in order to push out the protesters demanding political reforms, an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

At least 500 protesters have been camping there as part of their demonstration.

Earlier, our correspondent confirmed reports that at least two people were killed in the Shia suburb of Sitra outside of Manama in fighting there on Tuesday.

Abdullah Al Hubaaishi, a Bahraini who was making his way to the protest camp at Pearl Roundabout in Manama, told Al Jazeera that there were many wounded protesters on the streets in Sitra.

"Most of them have been shot," he said.

On Tuesday, the king of Bahrain declared a state of emergency for three months on the island following weeks of protests.

An order by the king "authorised the commander of Bahrain's defence forces to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of the country and its citizens," a statement read out on television said.

---------- Post added March-16th-2011 at 01:05 AM ----------

Both Tunisia and Egypt have shut down their security agencies now.

Not sure how different what Egypt is now proposing will be, but hopefully more based on protecting the people and less on protecting state secrets and officials in power by scaring people.


Egypt's interior minister has disbanded the country's feared state security agency, which was accused of torture and human rights abuses during the 30-year rule of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Major General Mansour el-Essawy, a former Cairo security chief and the new interior minister, announced the dissolution of the security apparatus in a statement on Tuesday.

He said a new agency in charge of keeping national security and combatting terrorism will be formed "in line with the constitution and principles of human rights".

Officers for the new agency will be chosen in the coming few days, the statement said, adding that the new agency will "serve the country without intervening in the lives of citizens while they practice their rights and political life".

The move meets one of the main demands of activists who led an 18-day uprising against Mubarak, who stepped down on February 11.

The security branch, which was empowered to conduct emergency trials, was widely hated and its officers accused of committing torture.

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9:23am The crackdown, which started close to two hours ago, seems to have largely succeeded in clearing the roundabout: Witnesses say the protesters camped out there have fled, and photos show dozens - if not hundreds - of police officers surrounding the area.
10:33am We've been sent two videos allegedly from Pearl Roundabout today. We can't verify them independently, but they match with the other images we've seen from Manama today: Heavy black smoke rising over the square, a large group of riot police stationed on the overpass just north of the roundabout. So they appear to be authentic.

One shows the smoke rising over the square, and crowds running away:


11:05am AFP is reporting that riot police also attacked the small group of protesters who remained at Bahrain Financial Harbour, the downtown financial hub which has been the site of protests for the last 10 days or so.

Most of them were cleared out during a crackdown on Sunday that left more than 200 injured. But a small group remained at the site and set up roadblocks; AFP says those have now been dismantled.

11:14am Another video - this one reportedly from Sitra yesterday (where several people were killed in clashes). It's shot from a balcony overlooking a side street, where riot police stomp on a man and then throw him into a jeep.

The time and the place can't be independently confirmed, but the uniforms and the vehicle definitely belong to the Bahraini riot police.


11:29am An update from a doctor in Budaiya health center, outside of Manama: She tells Al Jazeera that "streams of casualties" are arriving from the capital, all of them in private cars, because hospitals in Manama (particularly Salmaniya Medical Complex) are being blocked.

The doctor says that one person has already died at the hospital, which is "only capable of minor surgery."

11:39am Another report from the Al-Wasat newspaper, which spoke with Majid al-Alawi, Bahrain's housing minister (and formerly an exiled leader of the opposition).

Al-Alawi told the paper he's temporarily pulling out of the government because of its "handling of the current events in the country." He stopped short of resigning his post, though.

12:20pm Ghidar, a protester in Manama, said in a phone interview that the crackdown has made it impossible for injured people to seek medical attention:

We cannot move outside even to go to the hospital, even if there are any medical centers open for us, we cannot move... slowly, slowly they are getting closer to us, we don't know what to do now. We are just praying.

12:58pm One more report from Al-Wasat newspaper, which we've been citing a lot today. It says four members of the shura council - the upper house of Bahrain's national assembly - have resigned their posts to protest this week's crackdown on demonstrators.

They are: Mohamed Hadi al-Halawji; Mohamed Baqir Hasan Radi; Nasser al-Mubarak; and Nada Hafad.

Hafad was the first to quit, submitting her resignation on Tuesday night. She accused the government and the state media of trying to foment divisions within Bahraini society.

1:20pm A spokesman for the Bahraini army, Tariq al-Hassan, just delivered a statement on state-run Bahrain TV. He warned people against gathering outside - "for your own safety."
2:06pm The question on many people's minds in Manama, no doubt, is "what next?" Police have cleared Pearl Roundabout, and they have tried to deter future protests by warning people not to gather in public. But the protesters still have very real grievances, which have only been deepened by today's crackdown.

And Bahrain's state media, which for weeks has been accused of exacerbating divisions in Bahraini society, isn't exactly setting the stage for a reconciliation.

The state-run news agency is using the word تطهير - "cleansed" or "purified" - to talk about today's crackdown. It's also describing protesters as criminals or outlaws.

2:54pm State television just announced a curfew from 4pm to 4am in parts of the capital. It covers the area between the Seef district, in western Manama, and the traffic light before the bridge to Muharraq.

We'll post a map in a few minutes - for now, suffice it to say, the curfew zone includes Pearl Roundabout, the Bahrain Financial Harbour, and several other buildings which have recently been targets of protests.


3:35pm There are several reports from Reuters that soldiers, tanks and APCs are moving towards Budaiya highway, which is supposed to be the site of an anti-government march starting right about now.
6:08pm "Officially, now the military forces are running the hospital," Reyad Salman, a doctor at Salmaniya Hospital, tells Al Jazeera.

Salman says that it was not the military forces who were beating up doctors earlier in the day - but forces from ministry of the interior. He adds that despite "making all necessary communication and arrangements to secure ambulances to reach the places with injured people", security forces did not respect the medical needs of the wounded.

In addition, he says "a lot of patients inside the hospital have not been seen, and other patients still cannot reach the hospital securely". Salman also says that he personally sustained a fracture in his arm, and two of his comrades received serious injuries.

6:22pm A US academic in Bahrain, who has asked not to be identified, tells Al Jazeera that the GCC deployment has not been well-received by many people in Manama:

I think it's quite a big change. I don't believe that people thought the GCC military force was anything substantial, but clearly ... there is a feeling that these are not friendly troops, that this is in fact a military occuption. This is what some of the opposition people are saying, whereas the government people are saying, 'We asked for our friendly neighbours to give us a hand dealing with trouble-makers and saboteurs'.

The academic continues, saying that the force is not likely to spur on political dialogue:

It's easy, in a way, to send armed forces into a neighboring country, but it may prove hard to remove them later on ... The situation has become much more aggravated and intense, and the idea of resuming negotiations or even begining them is off the table because no one in the opposition is in the mood to.

6:58pm Political debate continues in the US over whether the US was properly informed by the GCC about the planned dispatch of Saudi and Emirati security forces to Bahrain.

The Obama administration is expected to address criticism that its Middle East credibility has been damaged, threatening national security. The State Department is expected to deliver a statement just over one hour from now, and the White House will chime in on the matter an hour later.

7:08pm Abdul Mohamed, an eyewitness at Salmaniya Hospital, tells Al Jazeera through an interpreter:

We are besieged here since the morning. No one can get in or out of the hospital as a result of the conflict at the Roundabout. Bahraini army, police and Saudi security are using tanks to prevent people from entering. There are also other forces I cannot identify in civilian clothing ... There is a large number of injured, over 400 people, including women and children.
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U.S. continues to believe solution is credible political reform, not security crackdowns that threaten to exacerbate the situation. #Bahrain 30 minutes ago via web
Despite rumors, US has been clear in public and private that we support peaceful political process that meets aspirations of all #Bahrainis. 29 minutes ago via web

---------- Post added March-16th-2011 at 02:07 PM ----------


Extraordinary footage: #Bahrain protester takes off shirt, waves hands in air to show he's unarmed, gets shot.
13 minutes ago via TweetDeck


More pics of dead and wounded in #Bahrain, some of them horribly graphic and disturbing. http://on.fb.me/fpuR25 about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

I looked...oh man....:(

I can't bear to watch. Please say they're ok. RT @Nabeelrajab: The youngest Bahraini victim shot by shotgun http://goo.gl/h29BF #Bahrain about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck


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Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has said he is willing to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in an effort to promote reconciliation between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions.

In a speech on Wednesday, Abbas also said he won't run for re-election. Abbas' plan includes fresh elections for both presidency and parliament within six months.

This is the first time Abbas has said explicitly he won't seek another term.

However, it's not clear that elections will be held because Abbas says they cannot take place if the West Bank and Gaza don't reunite.

Abbas has not been in Gaza since Hamas fighters overran the territory in June 2007, leaving his Fatah party controlling only the West Bank.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians attended rallies in Gaza and the West Bank on Tuesday to call for a national dialogue between the two factions.

Crowds in Ramallah and Gaza City urged leaders to put their differences aside in the cause of Palestinian unity.

Johnston also said demonstrations by students of Al-Azhar University in Gaza, which is affiliated to Fatah, were brutally broken up by Hamas.

"They [Hamas] closed the university gates, barred students from leaving, while men in plain clothes with sticks beat up students and journalists in trying to clear the area.

"Students in Gaza are very sceptical because they say that on one hand Hamas is calling for national reconciliation and on the other it is breaking up demonstrations demanding the same thing."

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The UN human rights chief has condemned the "shocking" use of force by security forces against protesters in Bahrain.

Navi Pillay said reports of a military takeover of hospitals was a blatant violation of international law.

She urged the authorities to rein in their forces, citing reports of people being beaten and detained or killed.

At least six opposition figures have reportedly been detained in overnight raids in Bahrain, and soldiers are back on the streets of the capital, Manama.

The crackdown on anti-government protesters in the city's centre left at least three civilians and three police officers dead on Wednesday.

---------- Post added March-17th-2011 at 10:56 AM ----------


Several opposition leaders and activists have been arrested in Bahrain following a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

State television said "leaders of the civil strife" had been arrested for communicating with foreign countries and inciting murder and destruction of property.

Among those arrested were Hassan Mushaima, who had returned last month from self-imposed exile in the UK after the Bahraini authorities dropped charges against him, and Ibrahim Sharif, head of the Waad political society, a secular group comprising mostly Sunni members.

Also taken into custody on early on Thursday was Abdul Jalil al-Singace, a leader of the Haq movement, who was jailed last August but was freed in late February as part of concessions by the Khalifa royal family to protesters.

Al Jazeera's correspondent, reporting from the capital, Manama, said a crackdown on the opposition's main voices was under way.

"Significant members of the opposition were arrested overnight, including some prominent activists. Soldiers broke into the houses of these figures early in the morning and made these arrests," he said.

Detained opposition activists:

Hassan Mushaima

Abdul Jalil al-Singace

Abdul Wahad Hussein

Hassan Hadad

Ibrahim Sharif

Abdul Hadi al-Mokhdar

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