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Protesters are continuing to push for change across the Middle East and North Africa


Protesters are continuing to push for change across the Middle East and North Africa, while Egypt and Tunisia remain in turmoil as they head towards elections.

A girl waves an Egyptian flag at Tahrir Square in Cairo

An Egyptian girl waves a flag in Tahrir Square

Egypt:
Travel bans have been issued for ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family.

Adel el Saeed, a spokesman for the public prosecutor, said that the Mubarak family’s financial assets had also been frozen while unspecified “complaints” were investigated.

Egypt’s interim military rulers have been under pressure to distance themselves from the Mubarak regime, which was forced from power on February 11 after more than two weeks of protests.

On Sunday, at least 500 people gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who was appointed by Mr Mubarak as he attempted to cling on to power.

Former interior minister Habib al Adly, who was in charge of Egypt’s much-criticised police force until last month, will go on trial next Saturday, reports said.

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Amr Moussa has announced that he plans to run for the presidency in elections promised for later this year.

Moussa, a former foreign minister who enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, declared his candidacy after a constitutional reform panel recommended the relaxation of eligibility rules governing who can run for president.

Oman:
Protests have reportedly blocked access to the country’s second biggest port, preventing any movement of shipping, after at least one person was killed in clashes with security forces.

It had been reported that up to six people had died as hundreds of demonstrators demanding more jobs fought police in the port city of Sohar, but Oman’s health minister denied those claims.

 

Still image from video shows protesters rushing towards a hospital after police clashed with protesters in Oman

At least one person was killed in protests in Oman

Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saidi also said police used rubber bullets, not live ammunition as some witnesses have claimed, against the crowds.

On Monday, security forces sealed off the main roads to Sohar, about 120 miles northwest of the capital of Muscat, in an attempt to isolate the protesters and keep crowds from swelling.

But several hundred people – mostly young men – were gathered at the town’s main roundabout, demanding higher salaries, jobs for the unemployed youth and changes of some government ministers.

A supermarket was set on fire by the protesters, witnesses said.

Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said has moved to quell the protests, ordering 50,000 new state positions and a monthly stipend of $390 for job seekers. A day earlier, he replaced six cabinet members.

Yemen:
Opposition to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule is spreading across the country with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in the northern cities of Ibb and Hudeida and Taiz, 125 miles south of the capital Sanaa.

The mass protests came as Yemen’s opposition parties said they would not join a coalition government with Mr Saleh.

In capital Sanaa, witnesses said around 5,000 protesters, who have camped out in the streets, shouted: “We have one demand: the fall of the oppressor.”

The Sanaa protests were swelled by members of several tribes, which are at the heart of Yemen’s social system. Islamist groups also joined the sit-in.

Mr Saleh met armed forces commanders at the weekend, and told them they were responsible for maintaining security and stability in the face of a plot against Yemeni unity, reports said.

Bahrain:
Anti-government activists have blocked access to parliament, forcing the cancellation of a meeting of the 40-member upper chamber, which is directly appointed by the country’s ruler.

 

Bahraini Shi'ite man shouts anti-government slogans at the gate of the parliament as he protests outside the parliament in Bahraini capital of Manama

Demonstrator stopped legislators reaching Bahrain’s parliament

The demonstration appears part of a strategy to increase pressure on the Sunni Muslim elite by holding rallies at sensitive locations in capital Manama.

The monarchy has appealed for talks with the predominantly Shia Muslim protesters, who complain of being politically marginalised.

The US, a key ally of Bahrain, has backed the call for “national dialogue” and welcomed a cabinet reshuffle by King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, which it said restated his “commitment to reform”.

Algeria:
A man has died after setting himself on fire outside a government office over the weekend in a protest over problems with his identity card, the El Watan newspaper reported.

The death in Bordj Bou Arredidj was the fifth by self-immolation in Algeria since mid-January, soon after days of rioting across much of the country to protest soaring food prices. About a dozen people have carried out similar protests since then.

 

Said Saadi argues with police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers

Riot police blocked anti-government protests on Saturday

The self-immolation of a young Tunisian in December unleashed weeks of protests that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

Algeria has seen unprecedented protests against the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the wake of the Tunisian protests.

On Saturday, several hundred riot police blocked a new opposition attempt to stage an anti-government march in the centre of the Algerian capital Algiers.

Iran:
Iran has reportedly arrested opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who had been under virtual house arrest for calling on supporters to protest against the government.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said the two leaders had been moved secretly to jail from their homes.

Mr Mousavi’s daughters said on his Kaleme website that they had been prevented from approaching the house since February 14.

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