The Mubarak effect - protests spread near and far

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CAIRO/TEHRAN/MANAMA - In a spate of copycat movements following the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, fierce protests broke out in Bahrain Tuesday, a day after massive demonstrations rocked Yemen and Iran. In what appears to be a domino effect, anti-government protests have also taken place in Algeria, Jordan and Syria.

It has been just four days since Egypt’s president of 30 years Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office on Feb 11.

On Tuesday, at least one protester was shot dead and several injured after police opened fire at crowds who had gathered in the Bahrain capital for the funeral of a man who had died after being grievously wounded in bloody clashes a day earlier.

While tension rose in capital Manama, fierce clashes erupted between protesters and policemen in two Shiite-majority villages of Darraz and Sanabis, west of Manama.

On Monday, at least 14 people in Diya village were injured in clashes, which the opposition described as the “Day of Wrath”. Protesters have now called for a “Day of Rage” Friday, inspired by anti-government uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Tunisia saw a mass unrest that ended the 23-year rule of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali Jan 14.

Barely a few days later on Jan 25, protests erupted in Egypt with tens of thousands of demonstrators seeking Mubarak’s ouster.

In Iran, security forces fired teargas shells to disperse protesters who had gathered at a Tehran square in support of demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia, while opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was placed under house arrest.

Clashes were reported to have taken place at the Enghelab Square in Tehran between security forces and protesters.

Though details emerged Tuesday, the demonstration was called Monday by opposition leaders Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, in support of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings.

People in separate groups, silently and without chanting slogans, moved towards the Azadi Square, but security forces chased them away, Xinhua reported.

Gatherings were also reported from Imam Khomeini Square, Haft-e-Tir Square and on Karim Khan and Vali-e-Asr streets.

According to AKI news agency, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was placed under house arrest.

His official website said the move was made to keep him from taking part in a demonstration in solidarity with the pro-democracy protests that toppled Eyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

A day earlier, at least 17 people were injured and 165 arrested during clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the southern province of Taiz.

The clashes in Sanaa erupted when thousands of demonstrators, including students and lawyers, marched through the city and attempted to enter the downtown square Al-Tahrir, and they were stopped by about 2,000 armed paramilitary forces deployed there.

The demonstrators have been calling for the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in office for 33 years.

DPA reported that the demonstrators chanted some of the same slogans used during public unrest in Egypt, which eventually led to the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak last week - “The people want the regime to fall” and, to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, “Get lost”.

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