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Protests rock Arab world

world Updated: Feb 12, 2011 23:26 IST

The euphoria that marked the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt reverberated to the people across the Arab and Muslim world, but stunned most of the regimes in the Middle East and beyond where autocratic rulers apparently calculated their own chances of survival.

Demonstrators gathered in the capital Algiers Saturday for a pro-democracy march. Algerians, protesting against the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, are reportedly frustrated over poverty and a lack of basic freedoms.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced in an emergency meeting on Wednesday that he would not run for re-election in the 2013 presidential elections.

President Saleh, after ruling for more than 20 years, has faced protests over the past two weeks, and it remains to be seen whether his concession will be enough to satisfy protesters.

In response to periodic protests in Jordan, King Abdullah II sacked his entire cabinet on Tuesday and called for the formation of a new government.

Jordan's protests seem mostly tied to economic concerns - unemployment and price rise.

Although no protests have yet materialised in Syria, there have been murmurings, and a drive on Facebook to organise a "day of rage". Syrians say they want greater freedom and civil rights.

According to The Globe and Mail, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he is not worried that the discontent could lead to trouble for his government because his beliefs are aligned with those of Syrian people.

Security forces took strong action against the mostly student protesters, beating and arresting many of those they found in the streets, the New York Times reported. The protests stemmed from economic and political discontent

Opposition members in Uganda are threatening Egypt-style protests if next Friday's presidential poll is rigged so that President Yoweri Museveni can extend his 25-year grip on power.

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