Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2011 3:13 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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EGYPT

Thousands of Egyptian women march in the streets of Cairo, protesting abuse by soldiers who dragged women by the hair, stomped on them and stripped one half naked while cracking down on anti-military protesters in scenes that shocked many in the conservative society. The march Is a rare protest by women, and its numbers _ about 10,000 by some estimates _ underline the depth of anger over the images from the fierce crackdown over the past five days on protesters demanding the ruling military step down immediately. Even before the protest is over, the military council expresses regret for what it called "violations."

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SYRIA

Security forces pursuing anti-government activists and army defectors shoot dead at least 47 people in Syria, pushing the toll for two days of violence to nearly 150, even as the regime prepares to allow in foreign monitors under an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the bloodshed. Syrian state television shows pictures of military maneuvers and says they are meant to show its forces are ready to "repulse any aggression the enemies of our nations might think about."

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YEMEN

Yemeni soldiers battle al-Qaida-linked militants outside the southern city of Zinjibar, which remains partly under the control of Islamic militants who seized it more than half a year ago. Sixteen of the fighters and four soldiers are killed. The militants have overrun swaths of territory in the area, taking advantage of the security vacuum that has developed as a result of the political unrest that continues to roil the fragile and impoverished country on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula.

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JORDAN

A military court frees 22 more suspected Islamic militants on bail. The prosecutor says the release is a "goodwill gesture" that follows the government's pledge to improve ties with the opposition, including with the Islamists. Jordan has been releasing members of the banned ultraconservative Salafi group, who regard non-militant Muslims as infidels and condone their killing. Jordan has freed 80 Salafis, while another 25 remain in jail. The group of 105 is on trial on terrorism charges for stabbing policemen with swords during an April protest.

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BAHRAIN

Bahrain's official news agency says 180 civil servants dismissed from their posts during months of protests and crackdowns in the Gulf kingdom will get their jobs back by Jan. 1. That's just a small part of the fired workers. More than 1,600 suspected opposition supporters have been pushed out of public and private sector jobs since March, when Bahrain's Sunni rulers started cracking down on protests by the Shiite majority, campaigning for more rights.