Global General

Unrest continues in Middle East, North Africa

Updated: 2011-02-18 13:55
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CAIRO - Another protester was killed and some 50 others were injured in Yemen on Thursday as street protests and unrest continued in countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Thousands of anti-government protesters, who wanted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to follow Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to step down, clashed with police in Yemen's capital of Sanaa and southern port city of Aden on Thursday.

Anti-riot policemen fired warning shots Thursday evening to break up a massive march of protesters in Aden, killing one protester and injuring about 10 others.

This brought the death toll of protests in the country since Wednesday to three. Anti-riot police's random gunfire killed two young protesters  during fierce clashes in Aden on Wednesday.

In Sanaa, 40 protesters were injured on Thursday when some 3,000 anti-government protesters, mostly students, met pro-government backers. One policeman was seriously wounded when police tried to stop the clashes.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters also took to streets in provinces of Al-Bayda, Al-Hodayda, Taiz, and Abyan.

In Egypt, the situation was still unfolding on Thursday. The ruling military council has ordered to arrest three former ministers of interior, tourism and housing, as well as a former senior member of the ruling National Democratic Party, over corruption allegations.

The council also announced a travel ban on 43 members from the current and ex-government.

In New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed the public commitment made by Egypt "to the holding of free and transparent elections."

"Those commitments must be fulfilled, there must be no turning back," he said.

The ruling Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Tuesday set a period of 10 days for the constitutional amendment committee to finish its task, while reaffirming it would hand over power within six months.

The council announced Sunday in No. 5 communique that they will suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament, and form a panel to draft a new constitution for the country before submitting it to a referendum.

In Bahrain, the Bahraini army issued a statement on Thursday, saying it will take all measures to keep stability of the country.

Bahrain's army said troops had been deployed on the streets of the capital Manama after a wave of anti-government protests calling for political and economic reforms have erupted in the tiny Gulf country.

Media reports said that four protesters were killed and dozens wounded after anti-riot police stormed the Pearl Square in central Manama on Thursday, although the authorities have not issued any official statement about the casualties among the protesters.

In a statement, Interior Ministry spokesman General Tarek al-Hassan acknowledged that policemen fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Fifty policemen were wounded.

Hoping to build on the momentum generated by the anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of Bahrain demonstrators have been occupying the square since Tuesday after the death of two young demonstrators in clashes with police.

In Libya, local media reported on Thursday that the top security official in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar province had been sacked over the death of two protesters in clashes with Libyan police in the eastern Libyan town of Al Baida.

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were expected to hold an emergency meeting in Bahrain soon to discuss protests that have erupted in the tiny Gulf country.

The GCC is a political and economic bloc including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.