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Tunisian Revolution and the Middle East


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http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/17/bahrain-opposition-idUSLDE72G1BA20110317

(Reuters) - The Gulf Arab state of Bahrain has arrested opposition figures for communicating with foreign countries and inciting murder and destruction of property, state television said on Thursday.

A statement said the unnamed men were "leaders of the civil strife" who had "communicated with foreign countries, and they incited killing of citizens and destruction of public and private property". It did not say how many had been arrested.

Members of the opposition bloc Wefaq said earlier that six opposition leaders had been arrested on Thursday morning.

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BAHRAIN

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/live-blog-bahrain-unrest

4:29pm UN rights chief Navi Pillay says any takeover by the security forces of hospitals and medical facilities was a "blatant violation of international law."

"There are reports of arbitrary arrests, killings, beatings of protesters and of medical personnel, and of the takeover of hospitals and medical centres by various security forces," she said. "This is shocking and illegal conduct."

4:51pm Amnesty International has released a report saying security forces used live ammunition and extreme force against protesters in February without warning and impeded and assaulted medical staff trying to help the wounded.

The group says Dr Hani Mowafi, a US medic who was part of an Amnesty team in Bahrain, "found a pattern of fatal and serious injuries during February’s violence showing that the security forces used live ammunition at close range, and apparently targeted protesters’ heads, chests and abdomens. They also fired medium-to-large calibre bullets from high-powered rifles on 18 February."

5:54pm The leader of Al-Wafaq, the largest opposition group, calls on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to withdraw his forces from Bahrain.

"The military should withdraw from Bahrain, the military of Saudi Arabia, and this is a call to the Saudi king, King Abdullah," Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the head of the group, tells Al Jazeera.

---------- Post added March-17th-2011 at 06:10 PM ----------

YEMEN

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011317134543671436.html

'Dozens injured' in renewed Yemen protests

Security forces use live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters demanding president's ouster, activists say.

Last Modified: 17 Mar 2011 15:15

Dozens of people have been reported injured in Yemen as security forces used live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Activists in the southern city of Taiz said police opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Thursday, leaving many wounded.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured in the capital, Sanaa, as security forces reportedly fired live bullets and tear gas at thousands of anti-government protesters camping outside a university.

The incidents came a day after at least 120 people were wounded in renewed clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in the port city of al-Hudayah.

Ten protesters were shot, and dozens were stabbed and hit with rocks, a medical official told the Associated Press news agency.

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BAHRAIN

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/bahrain-live-blog-march-18

1:45pm Several thousand Bahrainis are protesting in the town of Diraz following Friday prayers, chanting anti-regime slogans, despite a government ban on demonstrations, AFP reports.

"We sacrifice blood and soul for Bahrain," they chanted, as well as calls for restraint and non-violence in the face of a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in recent days.

1:47pm AFP reports that Qatari military official gives confirmation that his country's troops are in Bahrain.

"The duty of the Qatari force participating in the Peninsula Shield force is to contribute in restoring order and security" in Bahrain, Qatar news agency QNA quoted Colonel Abdullah Al-Hajri as saying.

"As a Qatari force we are receiving our orders from the head of the joint Peninsula Shield Force. There are no Qatari forces outside the Peninsula Shield" in Bahrain, Hajri said.

1:51pm Thousands had gathered to listen to a Friday sermon in Diraz by Sheikh Issa Qassem, Bahrain's senior Shiite cleric, before the demonstrations began.

People demanding rights and reform "do not believe in violence that authorities are trying to push them to," Qassem said in his sermon.

"The peaceful approach has been our choice since day one," he said. The crowd chanted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest), and "we will not be humiliated!"

2:00pm Pictures sent to us after Friday payers in Diraz, a town on the north west coast of Bahrain.

sitrafrifuneral1.jpg

http://twitter.com/angryarabiya

Brother of martyr "we saw the rest of my brothers brain on the ground. We took it n kept it to be buried with his body" #bahrain #sitra 34 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

A witness to the killing of martyr says after they shot him in the head they started kicking his lifeless body n hittin him with their guns. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

YEMEN

http://twitter.com/marwame

Caller on AJA: At least 10 dead and more than 100 injured after #Yemen govt. forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters. 2 minutes ago via HootSuite

---------- Post added March-18th-2011 at 08:09 AM ----------

Lots of people shot in Yemen this morning, very bloody and gruesome pictures on tv right now. Watching on Al Jazeera English

http://twitter.com/virtualactivism

AlJaz breaking: upgraded - 28 dead and approx 200 injured according to medical sources. On AlJaz live footage from Sanaa 9 minutes ago via TweetDeck
AlJaz apologizing for graphic coverage saying we just had to show what's happening on the ground in #Yemen. Scenes r horrendous! 5 minutes ago via TweetDeck

According to Al Jazeera there were snipers on the roofs there shooting people.

Al Jazeera now reporting that at least 30 people are dead.

Edited by visionary
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http://twitter.com/bencnn

Medical sources in San'a, Yemen: 33 killed during anti-regime protests. #Jan25 1 minute ago via web

President Saleh is supposed to be speaking soon.

---------- Post added March-18th-2011 at 09:22 AM ----------

http://twitter.com/HelpBahrain

Ladies and gentlemen, the ruling family have just demolished Pearl Roundabout http://plixi.com/p/84898724 31 minutes ago via web
@khalidalkhalifa You've destroyed one of the country's most symbolic and historical landmarks without the consent of the Bahraini people 14 minutes ago via web

---------- Post added March-18th-2011 at 09:29 AM ----------

UPDATE

There's reports of more protests in Syria for the third day in a row and now clashes there as well.

http://twitter.com/iyad_elbaghdadi

Very tense in #Syria right now. May God be with them. 13 minutes ago via web
Clashes now within the Ummayyad Mosque in Damascus. #Syria 6 minutes ago via web
Damascus, Homs, Daraa, Aleppo, Baniyas, are revoluting right now in #Syria. 3 minutes ago via web
Umayyad Mosque protests (video) 18 Mar 2011: http://bit.ly/eqVBXR #Syria half a minute ago via web
Khalid bin al Walid Mosque protests in Homs: http://bit.ly/fGoqnN #Syria 2 minutes ago via web

http://twitter.com/Tharwacolamus

http://me.lt/9PPcr Another video of clashes within Umayyad Mosques in #Syria #Damascus #March15 فيديو آخر للتظاهرات في الجامع الأموي دمشق 22 minutes ago via RockMelt
[HD]‏ http://me.lt/9PPcQ Another video from #Umayyad Mosque #Damascus #March15 - فيديو آخر للاشتباكات في الجامع الأموي في دمشق 17 minutes ago via RockMelt
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YEMEN

http://twitter.com/acarvin

Obama: "I strongly condemn the violence that has taken place in Yemen today...." 2 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Obama: "... and call on President Saleh to adhere to his public pledge to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully." 2 minutes ago via TweetDeck

Obama: "Those responsible for today’s violence must be held accountable." #yemen 1 minute ago via TweetDeck

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011318115434957754.html

Yemen declares 'state of emergency'

President announces state of emergency after dozens are killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, has declared a nationwide state of emergency, after a violent crackdown on anti-government protests killed at least 30 people, and left scores more wounded, in the capital Sanaa.

Saleh said on Friday that the decision to impose the state of emergency was made by the country's national security council, but there was no immediate indication of how long it would last.

The Reuters news agency reported Saleh as saying that it was clear that there were "armed elements" amongst anti-government protesters, and that the clashes earlier in the day were between citizens and protesters, not protesters and security forces.

I read on twitter earlier that he is banning the carrying of weapons in Yemen.

Not sure if that's true or not.

I think his government could fall apart soon if massacres like this continue.

SYRIA

http://twitter.com/Egyptocracy

Reuters: One dead and tens injured in the southern Syrian city of Deraa. #Syria 5 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone

---------- Post added March-18th-2011 at 01:34 PM ----------

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/world/middleeast/19bahrain.html?_r=1&hp

Bahrain Tears Down Monument as Protesters Seethe

By ETHAN BRONNER

Published: March 18, 2011

MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain on Friday tore down the defining monument, the pearl at the center of Pearl Square, in a symbolic end to the popular protests put down by the government. The official news agency described the razing as a facelift.

It was one more strike at the movement, part of a chain of events that, in a matter of days, turned Bahrain from a symbol of hopeful pro-democratic protest into one of violent repression

There have been reports on twitter now of people all across Bahrain crying out Allah Akbhar in defiance of the government and gunshots going off afterward in the direction of those protesting.

(this is very similar to what protesters did in Iran during their recent failed Green Revolution and how they were responded to by their government)

I'm also seeing reports of gunfire against protesters in Syria.

Edited by visionary
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YEMEN

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011318115434957754.html

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, has declared a nationwide state of emergency, after a violent crackdown on anti-government protests killed at least 41 people, and left scores more wounded, in the capital Sanaa.

Saleh said on Friday that the decision to impose the state of emergency was made by the country's national security council, but there was no immediate indication of how long it would last.

"The national security council announces a state of emergency across Yemen, and a curfew is set upon armed people in all Yemeni provinces. And the security forces with the army will take responsibility for stability," he said.

SYRIA

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/201131817214964640.html

Protests have erupted in at least three towns across Syria in the most serious case of unrest in decades for a country that has been ruled with strict emergency laws for almost half a century.

Witnesses reported that at least three people had been killed by security forces in the southern city of Deraa on Friday, where anti-government demonstrators had gathered after midday prayers.

The three were reportedly among several thousand people in the city who chanted "God, Syria, Freedom" while accusing president Bashar al-Assad's family of corruption.

Witnesses said security forces were reinforced with troops who landed in the city's football stadium in helicopters.

"The confrontations are ongoing. They are heavy," a witness told the Reuters news agency.

Hundreds of protesters were reported to have been injured.

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http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/03/18/syria.riots/index.html?hpt=T2

U.N. secretary-general condemns reported Syrian rioting deaths

From Caroline Faraj, CNN

March 18, 2011 6:49 p.m. EDT

The use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators in Syria was deemed "unacceptable" Friday by the U.N. secretary-general.

Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement that he is "concerned about the reported killing of demonstrators" in Diraa, Syria.

Witnesses said riots erupted Friday in the Middle Eastern nation. It is the latest of a string of Arabic-speaking nations beset with discontent.

The unrest spread through Hims, Diraa, Banyaas, Der Elzour and the capital, Damascus, witnesses said, and there were claims of deaths and injuries, but the assertions could not be independently confirmed.

Calling it "the responsibility of the government to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people," Ban urged Syrian authorities to refrain from violence and to abide by their international commitments regarding human rights, which guarantee the freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom of the press and the right to peaceful assembly.

His comments were echoed Friday by the United States, which urged the Syrian government to "address the legitimate aspirations" of its people.

"The United States strongly condemns the violence that has taken place in Syria today and calls on the Syrian government to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully. Those responsible for today's violence must be held accountable," said U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

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http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/19/egypt.referendum/index.html?hpt=T2

Egypt considers constitutional amendments

By Reza Sayah, CNN

March 19, 2011 9:12 a.m. EDT

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egyptians proudly streamed to the polls Saturday to vote on proposed constitutional amendments, the first democratic initiative after the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime.

An estimated 45 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in what is widely viewed as the country's first free election in decades, and the poll would set the stage for parliamentary and presidential elections later this year.

"I am very very happy," said Mohamed El Hourushy, a 19-year-old political science student. "This is something I've been fighting for all my life. I didn't think I would live to see this scene."

The proposed amendments include limiting the president to two four-year terms, capping emergency laws to six months unless they are extended by public referendum, and placing elections under judicial oversight.

Opponents say the proposed amendments were rushed and fall short of the people's demands. Many demand a new constitution and claim an early referendum gives an unfair edge to the Muslim Brotherhood and remnants of Mubarak's National Democratic Party -- well entrenched and politically savvy groups that are much better prepared to mobilize voters than newer factions still scrambling to get organized.

But presidential candidate and head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who is urging a "no" vote, lauded the referendum as "the first official step towards the democracy called for in the January 25 movements."

" 'Yes' or 'no' is not the issue -- that Egyptians are participating and voting today is what's important," he said.

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Apparently El Baradei was unable to vote due to a crowd attacking him on the way to the polling station.

I just saw footage of him trying to wade through the crowd on Al Jazeera.

Edited by visionary
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EGYPT

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/03/19/irregularities-egyptian-vote

Three hours into Egypt's constitutional referendum, we're hearing reports of high turnout - and potential irregularities.

Voters have reported long lines (see the photos below), with some predicting an hours-long wait to cast their votes. That's mostly been viewed as a positive development, a sign of high voter enthusiasm - a major change from last year's fraudulent parliamentary election, which saw turnout as low as 10 per cent in some parts of the country.

But some voters are reporting a more serious problem: unstamped ballot papers.

Each ballot needs an official stamp on the back, or it can be thrown out as illegitimate. What we're hearing is that some polling centres in Cairo and its suburbs are distributing unstamped papers. In some cases, election judges will (when asked) provide stamped papers; in other cases, they refuse, offering instead to sign the ballots - which does not legitimize them.

SYRIA

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/201131911234678272.html

Syrian mourners call for revolt

Thousands attending funeral for slain pro-democracy protesters call for "freedom" as police fire tear gas.

Thousands of people gathering in Syria's southern city of Daraa to mourn the deaths of two people killed by security forces have called for "revolution" in the country.

Police sealed off the city and fired tear gas to disperse the crowds who had turned out for the funerals of Wissam Ayyash and Mahmoud al-Jawabra, two of five people killed when security forces opened fire on protesters a day earlier.

Mazen Darwish, a prominent Syrian rights activist, said police had sealed the city with people being allowed out but unable to enter and other activists reported dozens of arrests.

The latest crackdown follows protests on Friday where, inspired by the revolts sweeping through the Arab world, demonstrators had called for political freedoms and an end to corruption in Syria.

Three to four thousand people leaving the city's Omari mosque after midday prayers chanted "God, Syria, Freedom" and slogans accusing the president's family of corruption, residents said.

But in the most violent response in years to protests against Syria's ruling elite, five people were killed when security forces opened fire on the protest.

---------- Post added March-19th-2011 at 05:35 PM ----------

ALGERIA

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/03/2011319174733727477.html

Algerian president 'promises reforms'

Abdelaziz Bouteflika vows to open a new page of "political reforms" as security forces block pro-democracy protests.

Last Modified: 19 Mar 2011 19:30

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algerian president, has promised wide-ranging political reforms in his country, while security forces blocked planned protests in the capital Algiers.

In comments carried on state media on Saturday, Bouteflika said that the lifting of Algeria's 19-year-old state of emergency last month was the first step on the way to reform.

The end of the emergency "will be a new page opened on the path to comprehensive reforms ... which cannot be fruitful in the absence of political reforms," the APS news agency quoted Bouteflika as saying, but gave no details about the reforms.

In Algiers security forces swamped the capital, hampering two rallies, one called by youths through the social networking website Facebook, due outside the main post office, and another at the nearby May 1 Square, called by the National Co-ordination for Change and Democracy (CNDC).

The planned protest was the seventh attempt since January by the CNDC to stage a weekly demonstration, along the lines of pro-democracy protests sweeping the Arab world, in defiance of a ban on protests in the capital imposed in 2001.

---------- Post added March-19th-2011 at 05:39 PM ----------

YEMEN

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/201131983335486248.html

Yemen opposition activists clash with police

Security forces open fire in southern city of Aden, a day after emergency was declared following a bloody crackdown.

Police have stormed a protest camp in southern Yemen where thousands are calling for the ouster of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's longtime president.

Saturday's raid was the latest attempt by security forces to quell growing unrest.

Protesters say police fired tear gas and live rounds in the southern port city of Aden, wounding three anti-government protesters.

Meanwhile, two prominent members of Yemen's ruling party resigned on Saturday in protest against the killing of the anti-government protesters a day before.

"I find myself compelled to submit my resignation ... after the heinous massacre in Sanaa yesterday," Nasr Taha Mustafa, head of the state news agency and a leading ruling party member, said.

While, Mohamed Saleh Qara'a, another party member, told Reuters he had quit because of the "completely unacceptable" violence.

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I tried to read this thread and my eyes started burning from all the bold text. :ols:

Sorry, about that. I think it makes it easier to pick out important info among all the text.

Personally I find it makes it easier to glance over the page without spending too much time going through lots of different reports.

I apologize if it bothers people though. (second complaint I've had about it today)

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Not sure how much longer Saleh can stay in power at this point.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/201132093857646830.html

Major Yemen tribe urges Saleh to step down

Leader of Hashed asks president to concede to people's demands as funerals are held for dead protesters.

Last Modified: 20 Mar 2011 10:56

Yemen's most powerful tribal confederation has called on Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's longtime president, to step down after his bloody crackdown on protesters.

Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of Hashed, which includes Saleh's tribe, issued a statement on Sunday asking Saleh to respond to the people's demands and leave peacefully.

It was co-signed by several religious leaders, who met at al-Ahmar's residence late on Saturday night.

Huge crowds were joining Sunday's burial procession of some of the 52 protesters killed on Friday, the bloodiest single day of the monthlong uprising.

The killings prompted condemnation from the UN and the US, which backs his government with hundreds of millions in military aid to battle an al-Qaeda offshoot based in Yemen's mountainous region.

Police stormed on Saturday a protest camp in the southern port city of Aden and fired tear gas and live rounds, wounding three anti-government demonstrators.

The escalating violence has rocked the government of Saleh, and resulted in four ministerial resignations, as well as the resignation of Yemen's ambassador to the UN.

The diplomat, Abdullah Alsaidi, resigned in protest over violence against demonstrators, a Yemeni foreign ministry official said on Sunday.

"Mr Alsaidi has sent his resignation to the president's office and the foreign ministry."

Baan became the third Yemeni minister

to resign in as many days [AFP]

Earlier, Huda al-Baan, Yemen's human-rights minister, said she had resigned in protest from the government and the ruling party over the sniper attack on demonstrators.

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http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320113138901721.html

Syria to free child prisoners

Protests continue for a third day as the government announces it will free children arrested for pro-democracy graffiti.

Last Modified: 20 Mar 2011 12:19

The Syrian government says it will release 15 children whose arrest helped fuel several days of protests which have left at least five civilians dead.

An official statement released on Sunday said the children, who had written pro-democracy graffiti inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, would be released immediately.

Clips posted on YouTube showed thousands of protesters in the streets of Daraa on Saturday

Their release would be a rare concession from Syria's ruling hierarchy, which rarely responds to popular pressure. But it has done little to deter protesters in the southern city of Daraa: Thousands of them took to the streets again on Sunday, angered by the deaths caused when security forces shot into a crowd on Friday.

Two of those people were buried in Daraa on Saturday; thousands of attendees at their funeral chanted "revolution."

On Saturday, Syrian authorities announced that they would establish a commission of inquiry into the violence.

Daraa has seen the largest protests in the country. Smaller demonstrations have erupted in Damascus, the central city of Homs, and the port city of Banias.

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Vis, I like the bolded parts, so here's at least one vote in favor of continuing them. You're doing a great job with this stuff, it's very much appreciated. I check these threads every day.

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:ols: Saleh fired his whole cabinet before they could resign, lol.

And I was thinking the government would collapse soon.

I guess he wanted to head that off.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320180579476.html

Yemen president fires cabinet

State media says embattled leader sacks his cabinet after weeks of pro-democracy protests demanding his resignation.

Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has fired the cabinet, according to a statement from his office.

Sunday's announcement comes after a month-long popular uprising calling for political reform and Saleh's resignation.

The president has asked the cabinet to be a caretaker government until he forms a new one.

Several ministers have resigned from the government after security forces killed at least 52 protesters on Friday. Abdullah Alsaidi, Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations, has also quit in protest over the violence.

Adding even more pressure on Saleh, the country's most powerful tribal confederation on Sunday called on him to step down.

Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of Hashed, which includes Saleh's tribe, issued a statement asking the president to respond to the people's demands and leave peacefully. It was co-signed by several religious leaders.

Meanwhile, thousands joined the burial procession of some of those killed in the uprising. Around 30 bodies were laid out in neat rows and the square near Sanaa University was filled with mourners.

Saleh had declared Sunday a national day of mourning for the "martyrs for democracy," while blaming the opposition for "incitement and chaos" that had led to the killings.

---------- Post added March-20th-2011 at 04:57 PM ----------

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320164119973176.html

Egypt approves constitutional changes

Package of nine changes endorsed by overwhelming vote, paving the way for parliamentary elections later this year.

Egyptians have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a package of constitutional amendments, according to official results released on Sunday evening.

Slightly more than 77 per cent of voters endorsed the amendments, the country's supreme judicial committee has announced.

Roughly 18 million Egyptians went to the polls on Saturday, a 41 per cent turnout. It's a better result than many past elections: The country's fraud-plagued parliamentary ballot last year had less than 25 per cent turnout, and possibly as low as 10 per cent, according to some sources.

The committee said that 171,190 votes were invalidated, though it did not say why. There were reports on Saturday that some ballots did not carry the required official stamp.

Voters approved a package of nine amendments, about half of which deal with elections. One loosens the requirements for independent candidates seeking the presidency; another restores full judicial oversight for elections.

Other provisions limit the presidency to two four-year terms (currently, there is no limit), and require a public referendum for any state of emergency that lasts longer than six months (the country has been under one for the last 30 years).

The "yes" vote also paves the way for a quick parliamentary election, which the ruling military junta has said will be held in June.

Egypt's two main political forces, the former ruling National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood, both urged a "yes" vote on the referendum. Critics say that's because they benefit from the quick timetable for elections.

As established political parties, they will have an edge in mobilising resources and fielding candidates.

The rest of the country's opposition parties all pushed for a "no" vote, as did the coalition of youth activists who led the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

One of the provisions, the revised article 189, requires the new parliament to appoint a constitutional assembly within six months of taking office. That group will be responsible for drafting an entirely new constitution, which - if approved in a separate referendum - would take effect next year.

I'm slightly confused as to whether or not they voted on everything with one vote.

Wouldn't they be allowed to vote separately for each amendment?

---------- Post added March-20th-2011 at 05:09 PM ----------

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320144855687985.html

Bahrain's main opposition groups have eased conditions for talks with the government a day after the country's king pledged to bring reforms to end almost two-month long pro-democracy protests.

The opposition group, led by the largest Shia opposition party Wefaq, late on Saturday called for release of prisoners.

It also asked for an end to security crackdown and withdrawal of Gulf Co-operation Council [GCC] troops, who intervened last week at the behest of the government.

Meanwhile, opposition legislators have held a brief protest on Sunday in front of the UN office in the capital Manama and asked for UN and American intervention.

"Prepare a healthy atmosphere for the start of political dialogue between the opposition and the government on a basis that can put our country on the track to real democracy and away from the abyss," the statement said.

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http://blogs.aljazeera.net/sites/default/files/imagecache/FeaturedImagePost/images/anti-war%20protest%20LA.jpg

Syria protesters torch buildings

One person killed as demonstrations in the southern city of Daraa continue for a third straight day.

Crowds have set fire to the courthouse and other buildings on a third straight day of demonstrations in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

Residents said one person was killed and scores injured when security forces used live rounds against protesters. Witnesses said dozens were also taken to be treated for tear gas inhalation at the main Omari mosque.

Thousands took to the streets on Sunday, calling for an end to corruption and 48 years of emergency law and to protest the killing of five civilians in a similar demonstration two days earlier.

The headquarters of the ruling Baath party was set ablaze as well as two phone company branches. One of the firms, Syriatel, is owned by President Bashar al-Assad's cousin Rami Makhlouf, who is under specific US sanctions for what Washington regards as public corruption.

"They burned the symbols of oppression and corruption," an activist said. "The banks nearby were not touched."

An AFP correspondent said protesters also tried to march on the home of the town's governor, but security forces used warning shots and tear gas to stop them.

"No. No to emergency law. We are a people infatuated with freedom," marchers chanted as a government delegation arrived in the city to offer their condolences for victims killed on Friday.

Syrian authorities have announced that they would establish a commission to investigate the deaths.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Damascus, said the government was trying to contain the unrest, to prevent it from spreading to other parts of Syria.

"They've made very clear indications that they're going to sack and dismiss local security officials who are responsible for those killings, and the governor of Daraa," she said.

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I hope Egypt works on access to the polls in the interim :beatdeadhorse:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4044713,00.html

Hundreds of Islamists stone Egypt's ElBaradei

Secular contender for presidency who called referendum on constitutional amendments 'irresponsible' escapes attack near polling station unhurt

Islamists hurled stones and shoes at Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and a secular contender for Egypt's presidency, as he tried to vote Saturday in a referendum on constitutional amendments.

ElBaradei was hit in the back by a stone thrown from the crowd of hundreds but managed to escape unhurt and slammed as "irresponsible" the holding of a referendum without adequate law and order.

"We don't want you," the mob shouted, throwing stones, shoes and water at the former UN nuclear watchdog chief as he turned up at a Cairo polling station, five weeks after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by mass protests.

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Odd.

I've seen the video of the mob, so obviously that's true.

I hadn't heard they were Islamists.

I thought El Baradei was supposed to be a puppet candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood though has been supporting the vote.

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Huge news out of Yemen today!

Senior figures in the army are currently coming out and saying they support the protesters.

Tanks and troops are deployed in the capital of Yemen to protect the anti government protesters.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320180579476.html

Several top Yemeni army commanders have declared their support for anti-government protesters seeking the resignation of the country's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Major General Ali Mohsen Saleh, the head of the north western military zone and the head of the first armoured division, said on Monday that he had deployed army units to protect the protesters.

Several other commanders, Brigadier Hameed Al Koshebi, head of brigade 310 in Omran area, Brigadier Mohammed Ali Mohsen, head of the eastern division, Brigadier Nasser Eljahori, head of brigade 121, and General Ali Abdullaha Aliewa, adviser of the Yemeni supreme leader of the army, rallied behind Major General Saleh and defected.

Addressing a news conference, Major General Saleh said: "Yemen today, is suffering from a comprehensive and dangerous crisis and it is widespread.

"Lack of dialogue and oppression of peaceful protesters in the public sphere, resulted in crisis which has increased each day.

"And it is because of what I feel about the emotions of officers and leaders in the armed forces, who are an integral part of the people, and protectors of the people, I declare, on their behalf, our peaceful support of the youth revolution and their demands and that we will fulfil our duties."

Hakim Al Masmari, editor-in-chief of Yemen Post, told Al Jazeera that Monday's army defections spell the end for president Saleh.

"It is officially over, now that 60 per cent of the army is allied with the protesters.

"For Ali Mohsen Saleh to annnouce this, it is a clear sign to president Saleh that the game is over and that he must step down now.

"It means the fall of the Yemeni army, by nightfall, we expect 90 per cent of the army to join Mohsen Saleh.

"According to our sources, the president knew that this will happen and he expects Major General Saleh to let him leave without further degradation and humiliation," he said.

Masmari, however, said Major General Saleh was not an acceptable figure.

"Ali Mohsen Saleh will not be accepted by the youth, it is not the start of a military government in Yemen, so a national emergency government will be a civil government," he said.

"He is also very corrupt, he is not respected here in Yemen, however, it will open the doors for the fall of the current regime."

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The majority seem to want democracy, although there are those in the south who want separation. I did honestly hear one cleric call for a caliphate a few weeks back, but I haven't heard anyone else voice similar ideas. According to a reporter on Al Jazeera English right now, the parliament is close to collapsing. He says that a bunch of parliament members have already resigned today.

This is in addition to the cabinet members and Yemeni officials who have also resigned.

some updates from a Yemen blog on Al Jazeera:

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/yemen-live-blog-march-21

4:21pm The list (see below) of people who resigned or defected from president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime is growing rapidly. The latest to join the list is Yemen’s ambassador to Egypt.

Army Officers:

Major General Ali Mohsen Saleh, Head of the North Western Military Zone

Brigadier Hameed Al koshebi, head of brigade 310 in Omran area

Brigadier Mohammed Ali Mohsen, Head of the Eastern Division

Brigadier Nasser Eljahori, head of brigade 121

General Ali Abdullaha Aliewa, Adviser of the Yemeni supreme leader of the army

General Faisal Rajab, based in the southern province of Lahij

“Dozens of officers of various ranks” – AFP

Diplomats:

Abdel-Wahhab Tawaf, Ambassador to Syria

Mohammed Ali al-Ahwal, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Ambassador to Jordan

Ambassador to Kuwait

Ambassador to China

Ambassador to the UN

Local Officials :

Ahmed Qaatabi, Governor of Yemen's southern province of Aden

Himyar al-Ahmar, Deputy Speaker of Parliament

Mayor of Aden

3 MPs

Tribal Leaders

Sheikh Sadeq bin Abdullah Bin Hussein Alahmer, the leader of Hashed tribes

There's some quotes and more details on the blog.

Edited by visionary
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The majority seem to want democracy, although there are those in the south who want separation. I did honestly hear one cleric call for a caliphate a few weeks back, but I haven't heard anyone else voice similar ideas. According to a reporter on Al Jazeera English right now, the parliament is close to collapsing. He says that 40 parliament members have already resigned today.

This is in addition to the cabinet members and Yemeni officials who have also resigned.

The religious extremism is the only thing that worries me about Yemen....but still, a free democratic country I think is better...hopefully

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The religious extremism is the only thing that worries me about Yemen....but still, a free democratic country I think is better...hopefully

Universal education before universal suffrage.

Yemen is still a backwards area with plenty of crazy mullahs funded by the Saudi's. Different from Egypt in my opinion

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Universal education before universal suffrage.

Yemen is still a backwards area with plenty of crazy mullahs funded by the Saudi's. Different from Egypt in my opinion

Exactly.....the funny thing is that the Saudis view the Yemenis as we typically view the Mexicans.

I honestly cannot stand Saudi Arabia (which I have voiced plenty of times on here before)......i really wish the revolution would take hold there so the Middle East could be free of the Wahhabist control of the region.

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