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Protests grow in Bahrain, Iran
DUBAI, Feb 15 (Agencies):
Published on 16 Feb. 2011 12:08 AM IST
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Inspired by the successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, protesters on the streets of Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen clashed with security forces today.
Thousands took to the streets to demand greater freedoms from highly entrenched leaders, in protests coordinated via Twitter and Facebook.
In Bahrain, a second protester was killed on Tuesday and in Iran at least one was killed and dozens injured, state media reported.
The demonstrations come after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak from Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from Tunisia, following a large-scale public uprisings.
Until now protests have largely been contained to North Africa but have since spilled over into the Persian Gulf, a major oil producing area.
The Palestine News Network reported that 50,000 protesters took to the streets on Tuesday outside Manama in Bahrain—a tiny Gulf monarchy and home to the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet.
Scores of people carried the coffin of Ali Abdul Hadi Mushaima, a Bahraini national who was killed on Monday when security forces shot rubber bullets and duck shot to disperse crowds. A second person was killed at the funeral, the official Bahrain News Agency reported.
The country is ruled by a small Sunni elite, and the 70 percent of the population from Shiite descent claim job and housing discrimination.
“We are only asking for political reforms, right of political participation, respect for human rights, stopping of systematic discrimination against Shias,” activist Nabeel Rajab told al-Jazeera.
In Yemen, around 1,000 protesters clashed with riot police and government loyalists in the fifth day of protests against the administration of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Four protesters, including one member of Parliament, were injured in rock throwing—two with head injuries, Reuters reported.
Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has ruled the country for more than three decades.
On Monday, tens of thousands rallied in Tehran’s Azadi Square—the same spot where protesters gathered in the wake of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009.
The official IRNA news agency in Iran said that one person was shot dead and dozens injured in the clashes. An unspecified number of protesters were arrested.
On Tuesday, parliamentarians called for the execution of former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, both instrumental figures in the opposition Green Movement, Press TV reported. Both men are currently under house arrest.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement of support for Iranian protesters on Monday.
“We wish the opposition and the brave people in the streets across cities in Iran, you know, the same opportunity that they saw their Egyptian counterpart seize in the last week,” she said.
Elsewhere, the Palestinian Authority cabinet resigned in a bid to fend off criticism over the administration’s negotiations over territory with Israel, publicized last month in a series of leaked papers.

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