Jordanians hit streets
Photo: AFP

Fatalities mount as Arab unrest continues

Continued protests and violence leave dead, injured in Jordan, Libya and Yemen

Clashes broke out Friday in Jordan's capital between government supporters and opponents at a protest calling for more freedom and lower food prices, injuring eight.


The Amman protest drew about 2,000 people, including hard-line leftists, Muslim conservatives and students calling for reduced power for the king and the chance to elect members of the Cabinet.


Students from the growing "Jaayin" or "I'm Coming" movement chanted: "We want constitutional reforms. We want a complete change to policies."


"They beat us with batons, pipes and hurled rocks at us," said Tareq Kmeil, a student at the protest. "We tried to defend ourselves, to beat them back."


He said at least eight people suffered fractures to the skull, arms or legs.


"Police didn't do anything to protect us," he said. "Police forces just stood on the side watching us getting beaten." Police spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.


Meanwhile, some pro-government supporters denounced Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, blaming it for spreading unrest across the Arab world. "Al-Jazeera is behind every sickness," read some of their signs.

Bedouin Sheik Walid al-Khatib joined the pro-government supporters, saying he had to come out to profess his support for king and country.


"I love King Abdullah and the stability of Jordan. I don't want this to ever change," he said.


Deaths in Yemen

Meanwhile, at least two people were killed in Yemen on Friday when clashes broke out between police and protesters, witnesses said, and thousands turned out in Bahrain and Libya to mourn protesters killed in government crackdowns.


While millions of Egyptians celebrated their ouster of Hosni Mubarak after 30 years, protesters elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, inspired by their success, were engaged in fierce struggles against their own longstanding authorities.

Protest in Libya (Photo: AFP)


Yemeni security forces and pro-government loyalists clashed with crowds demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule in several cities in Yemen.


One protester was shot dead as police tried to disperse crowds in the southern city of Aden, witnesses said and another person was killed and seven wounded when a hand grenade was thrown from a car into a crowd in Taiz, south of the capital.


'Troops fired live bullets'

Elsewhere, soldiers sought to put down unrest in Libya's second city on Friday and opposition forces said they were fighting troops for control of a nearby town after crackdowns which Human Rights Watch said had killed 24 people. Exile groups have given much higher tolls which could not be confirmed.


The demonstrations have been focused in the country's east, including its second largest city, Benghazi, where support for Gaddafi has been historically weaker than in the rest of the country. The area is largely cut-off from international media.


"Last night was very hard, there were a lot of people in the street, thousands of people. I saw soldiers in the street," a resident who lives on Benghazi's main thoroughfare, Nasser Street, told Reuters.


The privately-owned Quryna newspaper, based in Benghazi, said security forces overnight fired live bullets at protesters, killing 14 of them. It published photographs of several people lying on hospital stretchers with bloodstained bandages.


Reuters and AP contributed to the story



פרסום ראשון: 02.18.11, 18:14
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