Protests Engulf Middle East

Even Iran, Iraq seeing continued unrest

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2011 8:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Unrest continues to spread through northern Africa and the Middle East, with protests rocking Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Iran, and even Iraq. The latest from yesterday and today, from the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and AFP:

  • In Bahrain, the death toll after a surprise police attack on protesters rose to five.
  • In Yemen, protests—and fights between those for and against the government—reached their seventh consecutive day, with police firing automatic rifles into the air in an effort to keep the opposing sides apart. Yesterday, government supporters used electroshock batons against those protesting the president and one person was killed.
  • In Libya, protesters organized a "Day of Rage" today to challenge the 41-year rule of Moammar Gadhafi. At least four people were killed in clashes with security forces yesterday; one human rights group claims as many as 13 were killed by snipers and dozens wounded.

  • In Iran, students attempted to hold a memorial service for an art student killed in Monday's protests yesterday, but authorities thwarted them and held an official funeral for Saane Zhaleh, calling him a vigilante.
  • Even Iraq saw protests yesterday, these over unemployment, unreliable electricity, and corruption in the government. Three were killed and protesters burned the governor's headquarters and house in the most violent protest since unrest began in Iraq last month.
  • The Egyptian military issued an initial estimate of the death toll during its 18 days of unrest: at least 365 civilians dead, plus prisoners and police officers.
  • All of this is putting the US in an awkward spot, experts say. “For decades, the US sort of prioritized stability over democracy because of oil and Israel,” says one, but “the current policy is not sustainable."

A riot police officer stands behind a barbed wire barricade near the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Bahraini riot police seen near the Pearl roundabout during clashes with anti government protesters, in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Bahraini anti-government demonstrators shout anti-goverment slogans after the riot police attacked demonstrators in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators, background, and government supporters, hurl stones at each other during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Supporters of the Yemeni governement chant slogans during clashes with anti-government demonstrators in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Supporters of the Yemeni government react during clashes with anti-government demonstrators, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
Pro-government Iranians touch the flag-draped coffin of Sane Jaleh, a student who was killed during Monday's clashes, during a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011.   (AP Photo)
Pro-government Iranians carry the flag-draped coffin of Sane Jaleh, seen in picture at left, a student who was killed during Monday's clashes, in a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 16, 2011.   (AP Photo,Borna News Agency,Mohammad Shiri)
Iraqi riot police officers prevent anti-government protesters from entering the Basra provincial headquarters during a demonstration in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
Iraqi riot police officers prevent anti-government protesters from entering the Basra provincial headquarters during a demonstration in Basra, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
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