Sábado, 19 de Fevereiro de 2011

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The Egypt Effect: Protests Around the Middle East and North Africa Continue

The Egypt Effect: Protests Around the Middle East and North Africa Continue

One week after Hosni Mubarak's 30 year rule of Egypt came to an end and on the same day that Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square for a 'Victory March,' protesters throughout North Africa and the Middle East demonstrated and clashed with security forces, all too often with violent results. What follows is an overview of protests inspired by the revolution in Egypt.

 

In Libya, the BBC reports that at least 46 are dead as the unrest has spread. However, the actual death toll may be higher: At least 35 were killed in protests in Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi, on Friday. Those dead are mostly from 13 to 36 years old, the New York Times reports. Electricity has been shut off in some areas of the country and websites blocked and Benghazi's airport has been closed. 

 

There have been reports on state media of retaliation against the protesters against Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in power since 1969 and, of all Arab leaders, has been the longest in control. Getting a clear picture of what is going on in Libya is not easy, due to state control of the media. According to the BBC, 'media restrictions make it difficult to verify reports independently but the BBC has confirmed that websites including Facebook and al-Jazeera Arabic were blocked.' One newspaper which is owned by one of Col Gaddafi's sons reported that 'demonstrators had lynched two policemen' in the eastern city of al-Bayda; the semi-independent Quryna newspaper reports that the 'government would replace many state executives and decentralise and restructure the government.'

 

In Djibouti, thousands marched amid calls for President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has ruled since 1977, to step down before elections are called in April, according to CNN. Demonstrators were also rallying about economic stagnation in the small country, which is located in the Horn of Africa.

 

In Algeria, protesters are planning to hold pro-democracy rallies today, Saturday, against the country's military regime. According to the Guardian, the government has 'promised to end of the state of emergency' that has lasted for 19 years. But a group of 'civil society groups, some independent trade unionists and small political parties' are organizing new demonstrations to call for an end to the authoritarian rule of the 73-year-old president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the generals:

 

In a statement, the group's committee said: "Despite the warlike offensive in place in and around the capital, thousands of citizens broke through the wall of fear." 

 

Demonstrators said people now felt less scared of taking to the streets. The protest organisers said the government's offer to lift the state of emergency was a red herring as it could simply be replaced by an even more repressive anti-terrorist law.

 

In Morocco, protests occurred in Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangiers, says the Guardian. But protests are 'nothing new':

 

A small but wealthy ruling elite claims the 20 or more legal demonstrations held every day make Morocco immune to the regime-ousting rage of Tunisia or Egypt. Moroccans can let off steam, they argue, so they will not overthrow an executive monarchy that claims religious legitimacy and four centuries of dynastic continuity.... 

 

But where some see a Moroccan "exception", others see complacency, arrogance and shrinking freedoms. "You still have safety valves, but the regime is trying to shut them down," says Abubakr Jamai, former editor of the defunct Le Journal newspaper. "Tunisian society was relatively egalitarian. In Morocco the difference in wealth is obscene. You can imagine what would happen if people took to the streets. 

 

A more radical kind of protest fire is burning on Facebook. Three separate groups have sprouted up, calling the country's youth out on to the streets of 20 major cities, including Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier on Sunday to demand constitutional reform and proper democracy.

 

On the first of February, Issan Nadir poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire in the outside the education ministry in Rabat, the Moroccan capital---an act of self-immolation following the example of Muhammad Bouazizi, the 'Tunisian fruit seller who sparked a wave of revolution.'

 

In Jordan, an anti-government protest turned violent with at least eight injured. Al-Jazeera reports that protesters are calling for more freedom---Jordan's king enjoys absolute power--and lower food prices:

 

Akhram Ismail, 50, a government employee of 17 years who earns a meagre $140 per month, said his salary was not enough to feed his six children and wants to see changes to aid the poor. 

 

Ismail vowed that Jordan would not see an end to the protests anytime soon. 

 

"The government recently promised civil servants a pay raise of $28, while politicians play with millions," he said.

 

In Bahrain, after at least four protesters were killed when police shot into crowds of demonstrators in the capital of Manama, King Hamad has asked his eldest son and the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Prince Salman, to start a national dialogue to address the uprising in Gulf state, the BBC reports.

 

Bahrain is a close ally of the US; President Obama phoned the King and requested that the "universal rights" of Bahrain's people be respected and "meaningful reform" embraced. Bahrain has a disaffected Shia Muslim majority, who has been calling for the overthrowal of the Sunni Muslim royal family. While protest leaders had planned an anti-government demonstration on Saturday, they have reportedly postponed it.

 

The Guardian also reports that a BBC reporter was detained for 15 hours at the Bahrain airport and her equipment, including her cell phone, 'confiscated indefinitely.'

 

In Iran, the government in Tehran called for a rally on Friday to express 'hatred for the opposition movement,' says the BBC.  

 

In Yemen, five people were reportedly killed on the seventh day of protests, Guardian reports.

 

Al-Jazeera describes these latest demonstrations throughout the Middle East and North Africa as the 'Egypt effect': What country will not witness protests and calls for democratic reforms, for change?

 

Most Recent Care2 Coverage of the unrest in the Middle East:

 

Forces for Change in Egypt -- How Not to Get Spooked

Egyptians Gather In Tahrir Square for "Victory March" To Mark One Week Anniversary of Mubarak's Downfall

Police Fire Shots At Bahrain Protesters, Killing At Least Four

Protesters Killed and Injured in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen [VIDEO]

Protests Continue in Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya

CBS Reporter Lara Logan Sexually Assaulted in Cairo

 

Read more: cairo, egypt, morocco, iran, politics, bahrain, algeria, yemen, middle east, jordan, libya, Mubarak, djibouti, sana, january 25, egypt conflict, tahrir, benghazi, regional conflict.

 

publicado por Augusta Clara às 18:00
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3 comentários:
De Luis Moreira a 19 de Fevereiro de 2011
Só a sociedade civil pode mudar as coisas, e muda, mais tarde ou mais cedo. Hoje vem no (i) que já há movimentos para a população sair à rua em Lisboa e no Porto...
De augusta clara a 19 de Fevereiro de 2011
Sim, mas ainda não percebi bem o que isso é.
De Luis Moreira a 19 de Fevereiro de 2011
É o que vez no Egipto, as pessoas "não enquadradas" por partidos, sindicatos, organizações religiosas, como que de expontânea vontade, uma raiva surda que se acumula ao longo de anos de injustiças e que leva as "pessoas" a moverem-se. Em Portugal estamos muito perto disso.Lê o que diz o presidente do BdP, o Belmiro de Azevedo, o Presidente da Jerónimo Martins...

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