Protests in Bahrain
Photo: Reuters
Yemen. One dead
Photo: AFP

Police attack protesters in Bahrain

As Bahrain opposition refuses to talk to government, Yemen, Algeria join uprisings in Arab world

Bahraini troops and armoured vehicles on Saturday left a Manama square that had been a base for anti-government protesters, hours after opposition groups rejected a royal dialogue call unless the military stood down.


A handful of demonstrators tried to move back into their former stronghold in Pearl Square after the army pullout, but police firing tear gas beat them back.


One man raced to the centre of the traffic circle, fell to his knees to kiss the yellowed grass and began praying as other protesters celebrated. Moments later, 10 police cars pulled up and policemen beat up one protester as others fled.


Troops in tanks and armoured vehicles took over the traffic circle on Thursday after riot police attacked protesters who had camped out there, killing four people and wounding 231.


Bahrain's crown prince announced that all troops had been ordered off the streets and that police would maintain order.


Meanwhile, in Yemen, an anti-government protester was killed and two others were seriously wounded by gunfire during clashes with supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, witnesses said.


The protester was shot in the neck and was taken to a hospital near Sanaa University where he died, the witnesses told Reuters.


On Friday five people were killed in protests against Saleh's 32-year rule.


Algerian protesters 'want democracy'

In Algeria, police thwarted a rally by thousands of pro-democracy supporters Saturday, breaking up the crowd into isolated groups in a bid to keep them from marching.


Police brandishing clubs, but no firearms, weaved their way through the crowd in central Algiers, banging their shields, tackling some protesters and keeping traffic flowing through the planned march route.


Police presence at Saturday's march was more discrete than the week before, when huge contingents of riot police were deployed throughout the capital the night before the march. On Friday night, by contrast, the capital was calm, with police taking up their positions only Saturday morning.


Still, by breaking up the crowd, the police managed to turn the planned march into a chaotic rally of small groups.


That didn't stop 92-year-old human rights advocate Ali Yahia Abdenour, of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights. The frail man cried out, "We want democracy, the sovereignty of the people."


Another demonstrator, 23-year-old Khalifa Lahouazi, a university student from Tizi Ouzou, east of the capital, said he "came here to seek my legitimate rights.


"We're living an insupportable life with this system," said Lahouazi, a university student from Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Algiers. "It's the departure of the system, not just Bouteflika, that we want," he said, referring to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.


The new march comes amid weeks of strikes and scattered protests in the North African country, which has promised to lift a 19-year state of emergency by month's end in a nod to the growing mass of disgruntled citizens.


AP and Reuters contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 02.19.11, 13:30
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