Mideast protests at a glance

AP News
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Posted: Mar 01, 2011 4:31 PM
Mideast protests at a glance

A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in seven Arab countries on Tuesday.

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LIBYA:

Residents of the rebel-held city closest to Libya's capital pass out sweets and cold drinks to fighters and celebrate with a victory march after repelling an overnight attack by forces loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. Pro-Gadhafi forces also are repelled as they try to retake two other opposition-held cities: Misrata, Libya's third-largest city 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, and Zintan, 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of the capital.

The rebels have been fighting to consolidate their gains as the international community weighs new moves to isolate the longtime Libyan leader, including the possibility of creating a no-fly zone over Libya.

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YEMEN:

Yemen's embattled U.S.-backed president accuses Washington of instigating protests against his regime, as hundreds of thousands march in cities across Yemen in the largest rallies yet seeking the longtime ruler's ouster. President Ali Abdullah Saleh's allegations, unprecedented in their harshness, signal a growing rift with the United States that could hurt a joint campaign against the al-Qaida terror network in Yemen.

Saleh has come under mounting pressure to step down since anti-government protests erupted last month.

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IRAN:

Police in Tehran use tear gas and batons to disperse anti-government protesters demanding the release of two senior opposition leaders, with several people arrested in the biggest street clashes in Iran's capital in more than two weeks. Protesters rally at several points in the capital, chanting "Death to the dictator" and urging authorities to free Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, whose families and supporters claim are now under full-time detention.

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OMAN:

Oman deploys troops north of the capital Muscat and near the border with the United Arab Emirates following three days of anti-government protests. Ruled by a powerful family dynasty, Oman is the latest Arab nation to be swept up in the wave of regional unrest that has already brought down two leaders and threatened the rule of others.

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TUNISIA:

Tunisia's most prominent opposition figure quits the unity government, further destabilizing the interim leadership amid renewed uncertainty about the country's direction. Nejib Chebbi, who founded the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, resigns because he is not happy with the newly named prime minister and government measures he says aim to keep him from seeking the presidency.

Meanwhile, a Tunisian Islamist party banned for more than 20 years is legalized. The Ennahdha party, branded an Islamic terrorist group by Tunisia's deposed leader but considered moderate by scholars, says it will focus on rebuilding and electing a new leader to prepare for upcoming elections.

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EGYPT:

Egyptian officials again delay the restart of the country's stock exchange, a move that brokers say could undercut investor confidence in a market many expect to take a hammering as the country struggles to regain footing after massive protests that ousted its longtime president.

Exchange officials now say the market will reopen on March 6 to "allow investors to profit from the government's support to guarantee stability in the bourse."

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SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi Arabia's main benchmark stock index takes an almost 6.8 percent dive in a drop fueled by mounting unrest in neighboring Gulf countries and reports of the arrest of a prominent Shiite cleric in the Sunni Muslim nation. According to a security official, Tawfiq Al Amer is arrested after delivering a sermon advocating the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

Meanwhile, more than 70 Saudi intellectuals urge King Abdullah to enact wide-ranging reforms that range from ousting corrupt politicians to giving more rights to the country's Shiite minority.