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Arab world: Unrest spreads
Published on 21 Feb. 2011 12:12 AM IST
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Defiant anti-government protests continued to rock the Arab world Sunday, with the toll in Libya topping 100, while it spread to Morocco and for the first time, China too witnessed demonstrators gathering in at least two major cities. Sunday continued to be tense in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, that a day earlier saw the deaths of at least 15 people who were shot dead while attending the funeral of anti-government protesters.
The toll in unrest against the 41-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi has now crossed 100. People in Benghazi have taken to the streets to demand an end to the rule of 68-year-old Gaddafi, who has ruled the country ever since he took over the reins in a coup Sep 1, 1969. Ahmed, a Libyan businessman who resides in Benghazi, told Al Jazeera that hospitals were running out of blood as they were overwhelmed with the number of the injured following the crackdown by security forces Saturday.
“It’s a big, big massacre. We’ve never heard of anything like this before. It’s horrible,” he was quoted as saying.
Morocco prepared to witness protests for the first time Sunday with a youth movement vowing to go ahead with its plans for staging peaceful nationwide protests. Citing Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, Xinhua reported that the movement in Morocco called for the protests on social networking website Facebook, inspired by pro-democracy protests in Tunisia and Egypt.
“Sunday is the genuine start for our struggle and there is no pull-out of it whatever rumours are being circulated,” the Feb 20 Movement for Change said in a statement.
The outlawed Islamist Justice and Charity, reportedly Morocco’s biggest opposition force, and some leftist groups said they would take part in the rally. In Algeria, several people were injured when police used batons to break up a pro-democracy rally in capital Algiers.
In Bahrain, thousands of anti-government protesters camped out in Manama’s Pearl Square, as opposition parties are expected to hold talks with the regime of Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Demonstrators say they will stay at the square until the regime collapses, Iran’s Press TV reported Sunday. Yemen witnessed six more deaths in clashes between government supporters and pro-democracy protesters who are demanding the ouster of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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