Factbox: Protests in Middle East and N Africa | world | Hindustan Times
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Factbox: Protests in Middle East and N Africa

Here are details of some of the protests against authoritarian leaders which have already deposed the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt and shaken the Arab world.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2011 21:07 IST

LIBYA: Armed rebels opposed to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were in control of Zawiyah, some 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, on Sunday.

The death toll from nearly two weeks of violence in Libya is estimated by diplomats at about 2,000.

The turmoil has caused particular global concern because Libya supplies 2 percent of the world's oil. Industry sources said oil shipments were near standstill.

Libyans in the rebel-held city of Benghazi were on Sunday discussing plans for a temporary authority that would help support those challenging Gaddafi's rule in his stronghold of Tripoli. Libya has tipped into a political vacuum since the uprising against Gaddafi erupted on Feb. 17.

OMAN: Two pople were killed in a square in Sohar, on the north coast of Oman, when police fired rubber bullets at stone-throwing demonstrators demanding political reform on Sunday. Sultan Qaboos bin Said, trying to ease tensions in Oman, reshuffled his cabinet on Saturday, a week after a small protest in the capital Muscat. He has ruled for four decades, exercising absolute power. Political parties are banned.

YEMEN: Hussein al-Ahmar, a prominent Yemeni tribal figure resigned from President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party on Saturday and called for the veteran Arab leader's overthrow, a day after fierce clashes in Aden killed seven people. More than 10,000 people had taken to the streets after Friday prayers demanding Saleh step down.

Thousands of supporters and opponents of Saleh also held rival demonstrations in the capital Sanaa, in a test of support for Saleh's rule. Protesters outside Sanaa University, repeating slogans which have echoed round the Arab world chanted: "The people demand the downfall of the regime." Saleh has said he will not give in to "anarchy and killing". At least 24 people have died since Feb. 17 in daily anti-Saleh protests. -- Saleh has pledged to step down in 2013 and reform parliamentary election laws.

BAHRAIN: Hardline Shi'ite dissident, Hassan Mushaimaa, was allowed to return to Bahrain on Feb. 26 as part of several concessions by the ruling al-Khalifa family to Bahrain's majority Shi'ites who have been at the forefront of the protests demanding more say in government.

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims marched in the capital on Friday, declared as a day of mourning by the government after seven anti-government protesters died and hundreds were wounded in clashes with police last week.

Protesters are occupying Pearl Square in the capital Manama, where some 10,000 had gathered on Feb. 21 demanding more say in a country whose rulers are seen by the West and Arab allies as a bulwark against the influence of Shi'ite power Iran. The island hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. -- King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has asked his son, the crown prince, to conduct a dialogue with all parties but after bloodshed on the streets, opposition parties are wary.

ALGERIA: About 50 protesters attended a banned rally in the Algerian capital, Algiers, on Saturday, a drop in numbers indicating that opposition hopes of emulating popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world were fading.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, seeking to prevent opposition calls for protests from building momentum, has promised more democratic freedoms, cuts in food prices, and ordered new job-creation measures.

An order signed by Bouteflika lifting the state of emergency came into force on Feb. 24.. However, he said earlier this month that a ban on protest marches would remain despite lifting the emergency rules.

IRAQ: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on Iraq's government and parliament to take serious steps in improving services, providing jobs and fighting corruption.

Thousands of Iraqis had protested nationwide on Friday against corruption and poor basic services in a "Day of Rage" in which at least 10 people were killed and scores were injured in clashes with security forces. Protesters tried to storm government buildings and security personnel fired shots to try to disperse them.

The government has taken a series of steps to calm public anger over the economy in recent weeks. It has offered Iraqis free electricity and bought sugar to support food rations.

EGYPT: President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11 following 18 days of massive protests.

Egypt's ruling military council plans to hold a snap referendum next month on constitutional amendments, a lawyer said. The amendments include a limit to the time a leader can stay in the post.

Pressing their demands for more reform, hundreds of protesters camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday night, returning to the hub of the uprising that toppled Mubarak. Their demands include the removal of the prime minister. Emotions ran high after the military cleared them out of the square by force.

IRAN: Two Iranian opposition leaders have been moved secretly from their homes where they had been under virtual house arrest for calling on supporters to protest against the government, a rights group said on Sunday.

Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi had been forced to stay in their homes in the capital Tehran for more than two weeks. Mousavi's daughters said on the Kaleme website that they had been prevented from approaching the house since Feb. 14.

Supporters and opponents of the government clashed on Feb. 16 at a funeral for one of the two people shot dead during Feb. 14's banned opposition rally. An opposition website said at least 1,500 were arrested while taking part in the banned protests.

A large majority of Iranian lawmakers signed a motion for two opposition leaders to be tried, calling them "corrupts on earth". The term "corrupt on earth" is a charge which has been levelled at political dissidents. It is a capital offence.

Iran Green Voice website has invited people onto the streets of Tehran on March 1, Mousavi's 69th birthday, to protest the treatment of the opposition leaders. Another is planned two weeks later, on March 15, if their voice is not heard, it said.

JORDAN: King Abdullah swore in a new government on Feb. 9, led by a former general who promised to widen public freedoms in response to anti-government protests.

A mix of tribal and Islamist-led opposition has called for moves towards a constitutional monarchy that limits the powers of the throne.

TUNISIA: Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of central Tunis on Feb. 25 in what they called a "Day of Rage", calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, a former ally of the ousted president.

The wave of unrest across the region started in Tunisia after Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor, set himself on fire on Dec. 17 in protest at his treatment by local police.

Protests eventually forced President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country on Jan. 14. More than 100 people were killed in the uprising which sparked pro-democracy protests across the Arab world.

The interim government charged with organising elections to replace Ben Ali has already undergone several changes after street protests, but Ghannouchi, seen by some as an asset for his familiarity with the country's affairs, has remained.