Protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen spark turmoil

Egyptian Nobel Prize laureate and opposition leader ElBaradei ‘to join Egyptian protests.’

CAIRO – Angry demonstrators in Egypt have torched a police post in the eastern city of Suez, where violence between police and protesters has racheted up amid a security crackdown, reports. Police fled the post before protesters used petrol bombs to set it on fire Thursday morning, witnesses said. Police in Suez responded to other demonstrators by firing rubber-coated bullets, water cannons and teargas.

Dozens of protersters gathered in front of a second police post later in the morning, demanding the release of relatives who were detained during a wave of unprecedented protests that authorities have failed to quell since they began on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, activists calling for the outser of Hosni Mubarak, who has served as Egypt’s president for 30 years, clashed with police in the capital, Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday. Rumours that Mubarak’s son, Gamal, had fled the country have swirled in Egypt since Tuesday, the “day of anger” that ignited the protests. But Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan, reporting from Cairo, said that Gamal remained in Cairo and was attending a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Party. The opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei – the Nobel Peace Prize-winning former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog – was expected to return to Egypt on Thursday to take part in the protests. “I am going back to Cairo and back onto the streets, because, really, there is no choice. You go out there with this massive number of people and you hope things will not turn ugly, but so far, the regime does not seem to have got that message,” he said in remarks on US website The Daily Beast. ElBaradei will participate in protests himself on Friday, his brother Ali said, CNN reports on the other hand.


Tunisians have rallied for a fifth day outside the prime minister’s offices in Tunis as the interim cabinet prepared for a crucial shake-up in response to calls for a clean break with the old regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the ousted president, Aljazeera reports. Thousands also took to the streets of Sidi Bouzid, an impoverished rural town in central Tunisia where mass protests that led to Ben Ali’s ouster, first erupted. “No to the theft of the revolution! Yes to the resignation of the government!” chanted the protesters on Thursday. Some of them waved Tunisian flags as the town held a general strike in a bid to mount pressure on the country’s current leadership.


Thousands of Yemenis are demonstrating in the capital Sanaa, calling on Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for more than 30 years, to step down. Yemeni opposition members and youth activists gathered in four parts of the city, including Sanaa University, chanting anti-government slogans. They also called for economic reforms and an end to corruption. Yemenis complain of mounting poverty and frustration with a lack of political freedoms. The country has also been plagued by a range of security issues, including a separatist movement in the south and an uprising of Shia Houthi rebels in the north.

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