A look at political unrest in the Middle East

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2011 4:35 PM
A look at political unrest in the Middle East

A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in the Middle East on Wednesday:

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LIBYA:

A high ranking member of the Libyan military visits Cairo with a message for the Egyptian army from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pound opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities.

Gadhafi appears to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya.

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EGYPT:

The death toll in Muslim-Christian clashes over the burning of a church rises to 13, with about 140 wounded, the bloodiest clashes in years. The clashes add to a sense of chaos after a popular revolution toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. Police move into Tahrir Square, focus of the revolution, after violence erupts between opposing groups, some demanding more reforms and others opposed to their presence. Police remove the groups and some of their tents.

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YEMEN:

Thousands of Yemenis defiantly demonstrate at a public square, a day after the army storms Sanaa University, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, killing one person and wounding scores of others. The attack escalated tensions in Yemen, which has been rocked by weeks of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the campaign against al-Qaida who has been in power 32 years.

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SAUDI ARABIA:

Nearly 200 Shiites chanting "We want freedom!" protest in Saudi Arabia's eastern province, even as the foreign minister warns that the oil-rich nation will take strong action if activists take to the streets.

The gathering in Qatif by members of the country's Shiite Muslim minority is a smaller version of a planned "Day of Rage" on Friday to demand the Saudi regime's ouster, inspired by the wave of uprisings in the Arab world.

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BAHRAIN:

Thousands of Shiite protesters demand that naturalized Sunnis be stripped of their citizenship and sent out of the Gulf country. The latest demand comes after three weeks of marches demanding political change in the strategically important island kingdom.

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OMAN:

Workers at two major state-owned companies join protests in Oman, calling for pay hikes and greater benefits. Work comes to a stop at Oman Telecommunications Co. and Petroleum Development Oman as several hundred employees join sit-ins. Protesters also stage a second day of rallies in front of the Ministry of Information to demand more media freedom.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

A group of citizens sign a petition to allow a popularly elected parliament, signaling that demands for leadership overhauls raging across the Middle East have also reached the oil-rich Gulf federation. There are no official opposition groups in the Emirates, a union of seven sheikdoms. Activists who advocate change have until now been largely idle during the region's political unrest.

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TUNISIA:

A court dissolves the party of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and orders all its assets seized, demolishing a key symbol of his autocratic regime. Protesters had demanded its dissolution since Ben Ali was driven from power on Jan. 14 following weeks of protests that led to uprisings across the Arab world.

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MOROCCO:

King Mohammed VI announces a broad revision of Morocco's constitution, a move aimed to boost democracy in the North African country amid recent turmoil in the Arab world.

In a rare speech to the nation, the king says a new commission would be created to examine revisions to the constitution, and it would issue its recommendations to the royal palace by June.