Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: May 22, 2011 3:23 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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YEMEN

Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh resists intense U.S. and Arab pressure and stalls at signing a deal calling for him to step down in 30 days, as his regime brings armed supporters into the streets demanding he stay. Hundreds of militiamen trap the American and other ambassadors inside a diplomatic mission for hours. Finally in the evening, Yemeni military helicopters land at the embassy and ferry the diplomats out, taking them to the presidential palace. There they witness several Yemeni ruling party officials sign the accord. But Saleh, shown on state TV standing alongside the U.S. ambassador, does not sign. Saleh says he would not do so unless opposition leaders attend and sign it as well in public, not "behind closed doors."

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LIBYA

In a boost to Libya's rebels, the European Union opens a diplomatic office in their eastern stronghold and pledges support for a democratic Libya where Moammar Gadhafi "will not be in the picture." The office in the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi gives Gadhafi's opponents a key point of contact with the 27 nations in the European bloc and adds to the growing international recognition of the rebels' political leadership. In return, the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council holds out the possibility of future rewards for those who offer early support, and he says his nascent administration would respect human rights and international law.

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EGYPT

A Cairo court imposes the first death sentence in the killing of protesters during the popular uprising that deposed President Hosni Mubarak, condemning a police officer who was tried in absentia. It is the first such sentence in over a dozen court cases involving police shooting and killing protesters. Lawyers say because the officer, Mohammed Mahmoud, was tried in absentia, the court felt free to pass the maximum sentence. Once he is arrested, Mahmoud would get a new trial. Mahmoud, a low ranking police officer, was convicted of killing at least 20 protesters and injuring many by randomly firing his rifle.

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BAHRAIN

A special appeals court in Bahrain upholds death sentences for two people convicted of killing policemen during anti-government demonstrations in March. The case is part of a series of closed-door trials in the Gulf island nation that have been criticized by rights groups and others opposed to the wide-ranging emergency laws used to quell demonstrations against Bahrain's monarchy. Two other defendants who were sentenced to death in the case had their sentences reduced to life in prison. Three other defendants in the same case previously received life sentences.

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MOROCCO

Police disperse pro-democracy activists attempting to demonstrate in the streets of Morocco's capital. Helmeted police wielding nightsticks charge groups of activists attempting to gather, sending them running through the streets of Rabat. Several people are injured and briefly detained. The activists also attempt to stage protests in front of the parliament but are scattered by police.