Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2011 4:37 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Syrian soldiers fire on tens of thousands of protesters who flood the streets shouting for the ouster _ and even the execution _ of President Bashar Assad as his embattled regime tries to crush a 5-month-old uprising despite broad international condemnation.

At least 14 protesters are killed across the country: Five outside the capital, Damascus; one in Homs and two in Hama; Four in the major northern city Aleppo; one in Deir el-Zour; and one in eastern Idlib province, according to multiple activist groups. Military raids earlier in the day kill at least two people.

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EGYPT

Hundreds of protesters rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, briefly scuffling with riot police and defying Egypt's military rulers who are eager to prevent any demonstrations in the iconic square since forcefully clearing a weekslong sit-in by youth activists last week.

Protesters throw bottles and stones at the columns of police in riot gear before other demonstrators form a human chain in front of the police to stop the violence.

The rally by youth activists and Sufis, a mystical order of Islam that has generally stayed out of politics, is a counterpoint to a mass demonstration by hard-line Salafi Muslims last month who called for the imposition of Islamic law.

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LIBYA

Rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's troops along the country's Mediterranean coast claim they have captured part of the strategic oil terminal town of Brega, which has repeatedly changed hands in the 6-month-old civil war.

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YEMEN

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis pour into the streets of major cities and towns across the country, keeping the pressure on the nation's embattled president to step down.

The mass demonstrations in the capital, Sanaa, and at least 17 other cities and towns, including Taiz and Ibb, are the largest since President Ali Abdullah Saleh left a hospital in Saudi Arabia, where he was recovering from wounds suffered in a June attack on his palace compound. He says he wants to return home soon.

Protest organizer Abdel Handi al-Azazi says the high turnout sends a clear message to Saleh that "you will not return to the country whatever you do."

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BAHRAIN

Bahrain's main Shiite opposition party says it will boycott next month's special parliamentary elections.

The Sept. 24 ballot was called after mass resignations by Al Wefaq lawmakers in March to protest a crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. An election snub by Al Wefaq would be a serious blow to efforts by Bahrain's Sunni monarchy to portray stability in the island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

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TUNISIA

A court hands down prison terms for members and collaborators of the former first lady of Tunisia for trying to illegally flee with jewels and cash as the regime collapsed. But it throws out charges against the once powerful head of presidential security.

Sisters and nephews of much hated former first lady Leila Trabelsi are convicted. Sentences range from four months to six years in prison. The court dismisses charges against Ali Seriati, who ran Ben Ali's presidential security. Seriati awaits a military trial for allegedly plotting against the state.