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February 14, 2011

Middle East unrest in Iran, Bahrain, Yemen and more

Demonstrators took to the streets in Iran, Yemen and Bahrain on Monday, inspired by the anti-government revolts that toppled the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt over the last month.

Iran

Mousavi says the freedom movement is alive, but his campaign is fading as many Iranians feel the former prime minister lacks the courage to confront the establishment from which he sprang. Many Iranians critical of the government now seem unwilling to risk violence or arrest with displays of dissent. But the opposition's call has gained momentum on social networking websites, with more than 56,000 people pledging to participate on one protest group's Facebook page.



Bahrain

Small-scale clashes erupted in two Bahraini villages as security forces tightened their grip on Shi'ite communities for Monday's "Day of Rage" protests.

"There were 2,000 sitting in the street voicing their demands when police started firing," 24-year-old Kamel told Reuters, declining to give his full name. Nearby, streets were littered with teargas canisters and rubber bullets.

Weeks-old Yemen protests winning major concessions

Hundreds of anti-government demonstrators clashed with supporters of Yemen's president on Monday south of the capital, with both sides hurling rocks as protests escalated in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state. Anti-government protests gained momentum in recent weeks, sometimes drawing tens of thousands of people, and the threat of further turmoil prompted Saleh to offer significant concessions, including a pledge to step down in 2013.

Algeria and Libya

CNN country by country - Authorities in Algeria said Monday that they would lift a 20-year state of emergency in the "coming days." They acted after anti-government protesters chanting "change the power!" clashed with security forces in the capital over the weekend, witnesses said. The state of emergency was imposed in 1992 to quell a civil war that led to the deaths of what U.S. officials estimate to be more than 150,000 people. About 100 protesters were arrested during the protests in Algiers on Saturday, according to the opposition Algerian League for Human Rights.

LIBYA There were calls made through Facebook for a day of peaceful demonstrations in Libya on Monday. The protests come in the shadow of leader Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled the country for almost 40 years and had expressed support for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during the crisis there. It was not immediately clear Monday whether protests had taken place

IRAQ

Thousands of people rallied this month in cities across the country, protesting rampant poverty, a 45% national unemployment rate and shortages of food, electricity and water. Most recently, hundreds of angry demonstrators took to the streets of Ramadi -- about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Baghdad -- to protest the government's inability to provide basic services. After the protests began, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced he would cut his salary in half amid the growing unrest over poor public services and water shortages. State television also reported this month that al-Maliki would not run for a third term when his current one expires in 2014.

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