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article imageTunisia, Egypt trigger protests in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya

By Leo Reyes     Feb 16, 2011 in Politics
Recent protests in Tunisia and Egypt, which led to the downfall of its overstaying autocratic leaders, have triggered similar social unrest in neighboring countries including Yemen, Bahrain and Libya while Iran braces for renewed street protests.
Protesters demand the resignation of their leaders who ruled their nations for decades amid widespread poverty caused by repressive and inefficient leadership of their autocratic rulers.
In Libya, dozens of people were injured as protesters clashed with government forces in Benghazi as Libya braces for a "Day of Anger" following a successful revolt in Tunisia and Egypt.
Security forces reportedly intervened and tried to defuse tension between the protesters and supporters of Libya strongman Moamar Gadhafi, who has been in power for over 40 years.
Protesters are demanding the ouster of their leader to pave the way for needed reforms in their government as they complained of corruption and nepotism in the regime.
The European Union, meanwhile, urged Tripoli to allow "free expression" in the North African nation. "We also call for calm and for all violence to be avoided," said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Like protest movements elsewhere in the Middle East, dissidents have been using the Internet in a bid to rally support in a country where the media is tightly controlled by the state.
In Yemen, L.A. Times reports "The continuing wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East led to a fifth day of protests Tuesday in Yemen and thousands of protesters swept into the main square of the capital of Bahrain, setting up tents and vowing to stay until the government agrees to major reforms."
Like Libya's Gadhafi, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country for over 30 years, is also facing ouster as demonstrators continue with their sustained street protests.
"Years of trying to keep the Yemeni people in ignorance and poverty have failed," said protester Jameel Awad, a 28-year-old taxi driver. "Tunisia and Egypt have shown us that nothing is impossible. The youth see that this is their time to claim the future … and we will not let the opportunity pass."
In Bahrain, BBC News reports, "Thousands of people have occupied the center of the Bahrain's capital on the third day of anti-government protests."
The protesters are demanding a new constitution written by the people, release of political prisoners, more jobs and housing, creation of a more representative and empowered government and a new cabinet that does not include Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has been in office for 40 years, among others.
As protests mounts in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, a renewed call for change has been reported in Iran where thousands of demonstrators have reappeared in the streets to press their demands for change in their government.
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