A look at political unrest in the Middle East

AP News
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Posted: Mar 10, 2011 2:55 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 Thursday:

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LIBYA:

Government forces drive hundreds of rebels from a strategic oil port with a withering rain of rockets and tank shells, significantly expanding Moammar Gadhafi's control of Libya as Western nations struggled to find a way to stop him.

France is first country to recognize the rebels' governing council, and an ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy says his government is planning "targeted operations" to defend civilians if the international community approves.

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SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi police open fire at a rally in the kingdom's east in an apparent escalation of efforts to stop planned protests. Government officials warn they will take strong action if activists take to the streets after increasing calls for large protests around the oil-rich kingdom to press for democratic reforms.

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EGYPT:

Thousands of Christians hold an emotional funeral service after clashes this week between Muslims and Christians killed 13 and wounded 140. The clashes have deepened a sense of chaos as the police and ruling military struggle to maintain order barely a month after a popular uprising ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

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YEMEN:

Yemen's embattled president proposes that the government draw up a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of the parliament and judiciary. But thousands of unsatisfied protesters pour into the streets after his speech to demand the ouster of the Yemeni ruler of 32 years.

The demonstrators have set up protest camps in the capital and the cities of Aden and Taiz, saying they won't leave until U.S.-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh does.

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BAHRAIN:

An angry faceoff between hundreds of loyalists praising Bahrain's Sunni rulers and Shiites cursing their names breaks out at a schoolyard. Police and parliament members move in to break up the rival demonstrations during morning break at the school.

Bahrain's nearly monthlong political implosion lays bare the divide between the majority Shiites and the Sunni ruling class.