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Unrest Continues In Bahrain, Algeria, And Yemen


A video grab shows anti-government demonstrators destroying a monument in Tobruk, Libya

A video grab shows anti-government demonstrators destroying a monument in Tobruk, Libya

There is no sign that unrest is abating in the Arab nations of Yemen, Algeria, and Bahrain.

There were reports that an antigovernment protester was killed in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, while hundreds of Algerians braved riot police to rally in the capital, chanting antiregime slogans.

In the meantime, in Bahrain's capital, Manama, large crowds of antigovernment protesters returned to Pearl Square after riot police had retreated from the square.

Earlier on February 19 soldiers had left Pearl Square in tanks and armored vehicles after the country's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa announced that all troops were ordered off the streets and that police would maintain order.

Four people were killed and some 230 others injured on February 17 after riot police attacked protesters camped out in Pearl Square. Dozens more were wounded when government forces violently suppressed fresh protests following the funeral of the dead protesters on February 18.

The crown prince on February 19 called for a national day of mourning. He also called on citizens of Bahrain to unite and cooperate with all political forces in the country.

Bahrain's main Shi'a opposition has rejected a national dialogue "with all parties" offered by King Hamad Isa al-Khalifa to resolve the crisis.

Reports Of Shots Fired In Yemen

Yemen is another Arab nation experiencing antigovernment protests following the ouster of Tunisian and Egyptian leaders by popular uprisings in recent weeks.

An antigovernment protester was reportedly killed and seven others were wounded on February 19 in Yemen's capital Sana'a in clashes with supporters of the President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters that at one stage both sides fired pistols and assault rifles. If true, it would be the first reported use of firearms by protesters.

Emad Shahed, a university student, who took part in the protests, said people want real changes.

"We want an overall change that includes the head of the regime, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and we want to tell him if you want to rule, you have to kill 25 million martyrs," Shahed said.

Five people were killed during earlier protests against Saleh's rule.

Saleh, who has been ruling the country for 32 years, has promised to step down when his term finishes in 2013. The president has also said he will not hand over power to his son.

Algerian Protests

Unrest and antigovernment protests continue in other Arab countries. Algerian police thwarted antigovernment rallies in the capital Algiers' central square today. The police, however, did not use firearms.

All roads leading to the square were blocked and barricades were set up to prevent protesters from entering. Some protesters still managed to get into the square, while others remained in adjacent streets. Protesters were chanting antiregime slogans.

An unidentified protester told Reuters people were "fed up with this system, with this government" and "want the fall of the regime."

Another protester said Algerians were inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

The fresh protest follows weeks of strikes and sporadic protests in the North African state.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to lift a 19-year state of emergency by the end of the month. The state of emergency was put in place to combat the country's two-decade-long Islamic insurgency.

Three people were killed in five days of protests against rising food prices last month in Algeria.

compiled from agency reports
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