No let-up in crisis | world | Hindustan Times
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No let-up in crisis

world Updated: Mar 07, 2011 00:06 IST

Yemen’s besieged president defiantly rejected a proposal on Saturday to leave office early and possibly end weeks of protests and bloodshed, while Oman's ruler pushed out three more top-level officials in attempts to quell widening demands for economic reforms and justice for the killing of a demonstrator.

In Libya, Moammar Gaddafi's forces drove out rebels near the capital, Tripoli, but opposition militias took control of a key oil port. Hundreds of Egyptians gathered outside Cairo offices of the nation's internal security services — the main enforcers of Hosni Mubarak's former regime —a day after protesters beat officials inside the agency's building in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. In Saudi Arabia, authorities banned all forms of demonstration as calls grow for protest marches Friday in the Western-allied kingdom.

“The president should leave,” cried Redwan Massoud, a leader of the protesters at Sanaa University in Yemen as tens of thousands of demonstrators streamed through cities across the country in a show of resolve against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In Oman, meanwhile, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led the nation for four decades, is tossing out more concessions to try to bring an end to a rare show of dissent. Protesters - including oil workers in the south - are pressing for more jobs and economic and political reforms.

But unlike the other countries they have pledged their loyalty to the hereditary monarch.

Oman's unrest remains small compared with Gulf neighbor Bahrain, but it is closely watched because of the country's strategic role as co-guardian of the Strait of Hormuz.

Oman and Iran share authority over the crucial waterway at the mouth of the Gulf, which is the route for 40 percent of the world's oil tanker traffic.