Mideast protests at a glance

AP News
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Posted: Feb 27, 2011 12:02 PM
Mideast protests at a glance

A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in eight Arab countries on Sunday:

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LIBYA:

Hundreds of armed anti-government forces backed by rebel troops who control the city closest to the capital, Tripoli, prepare to repel an expected offensive by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.

An Associated Press reporter who reaches Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, confirms the anti-government rebels are in control of the center of the city of 200,000. They have army tanks and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pickup trucks deployed. But on the outskirts, they are surrounded by pro-Gadhafi forces, also backed by tanks and anti-aircraft guns.

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TUNISIA:

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announces his resignation after a renewed outbreak of street violence in the North African country in the past few days.

Ghannouchi was a longtime ally of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and had pledged to guide the country until elections can be held this summer. Ben Ali fled the country on Jan. 14 amid massive protests.

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BAHRAIN:

Thousands of protesters stream through Bahrain's diplomatic area and other sites, chanting against the country's king and rejecting his appeals for talks to end the tiny Gulf nation's nearly two-week-old crisis.

At least three processions paralyze parts of the capital, Manama, and appear to reflect a growing defiance of calls by Bahrain's rulers to hold talks to ease the increasingly bitter showdown in the strategic island nation, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

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EGYPT:

Villagers in the southern Assiut province block a highway with burning tires and set fire to three government buildings to protest official corruption.

Hundreds of civil servants go on strike to demand better living conditions, saying senior officials are distributing social benefits unfairly. Anger over widespread corruption helped drive the uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier this month.

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OMAN:

Omani security forces fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters demanding political reforms, killing at least one person in the strategic Gulf country. The clashes mark a significant escalation in two days of protests in Oman, and show that the unrest roiling the Arab world has spread across the Gulf region.

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YEMEN:

Yemen's opposition parties say they are joining young protesters in their push to bring down the country's beleaguered president.

The announcement marked the second major setback in two days for President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the fight against the al-Qaida terror network. Two powerful chiefs from his own tribe have abandoned him, and hundreds of thousands have been calling for his ouster in large demonstrations.

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SAUDI ARABIA:

More than 100 leading Saudi academics and activists call on the king to enact sweeping reforms in the oil-rich nation, including setting up a constitutional monarchy.

In the Internet statement, the activists say Saudi Arabia is rife with nepotism and corruption, and that the lack of progress on promised reforms has aggravated rifts in the country.

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IRAQ:

After a string of deadly anti-government protests, Iraq's prime minister gives his ministers 100 days to improve their performance or risk being fired.

The warning from Nouri al-Maliki comes two days after thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country to demand better public services. It demonstrates the worries Iraqi officials have that protests inspired by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt could spiral out of control.