Entries in Demonstrations (45)


Christians in Egypt Up in Arms Over Rally That Turned into Deadly Riot

MOHAMMED HOSSAM/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Reverberations from a deadly crackdown on a massive demonstration were being felt in Egypt Monday as Coptic Christians said the ruling military council did little to stop agitators from turning the rally into sectarian warfare.

At least 26 people died and more than 200 were injured when the protest in Cairo against the torching of a Coptic Church descended into chaos as plain-clothes men began attacking Christian demonstrators.

From that point, the army moved in and the scene turned into one of gunfire and tanks mowing over demonstrators.

The Coptic Christians, who represent 10 percent of Egypt's population, fear they will increasingly become targets if radical Islamists gain control of the country, which is in the midst of a power vacuum since the resignation last winter of President Hosni Mubarak.

As a further sign of distrust, the families of 17 Copts who died Sunday have forbidden the government to conduct autopsies for fear that the results will be skewed to hide any responsibility the army might have for their deaths.

It was the most violent episode since demonstrations last February took down Mubarak's government.

In Washington, the White House issued a statement, saying, "Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Riot Police Fire Tear Gas, Water Cannons at Protesters in Santiago

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SANTIAGO) -- Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at crowds during Thursday's unauthorized student protests over educational costs in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

Students set up barricades of burning tires around the city Thursday morning and threw rocks at approaching army tanks trying to put out the fires.

Hundreds of protesters were detained by riot police as they tried to march on the Plaza de Armas in the city center.

In Chile, public schools are owned by municipalities instead of the state and, therefore, the quality of education varies based on location.

Students want public universities to be government-owned and free of charge.

During a second protest in the evening, students holding banners began marching on Plaza Italia.

Within 10 minutes, riot police arrived in tanks and began firing tear gas on the crowd. Students covered their mouths and ran as tears ran down from their bloodshot eyes.

For weeks, more than 100,000 students, most of whom are at the undergraduate or high school level, have been protesting on the streets of Santiago.

Chile spends 4.4 percent of the country's budget on public education, less than the seven percent recommended by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


At Least 30 Killed in Pro-Democracy Demonstrations in Syria

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS) -- At least another 30 pro-democracy demonstrators were killed by Syrian security forces this weekend.

An estimated one million protestors took to the sterets on Friday. On Sunday the regime is still struggling to end the demonstrations.

The activists say a new military siege is underway in a town near the Lebanese border and there are signs that another incursion of a town near the Iraqi border is next.  All of this while thousands Sunday are rallying in support of President Assad in Damascus.  

In Istanbul, Turkey,  a group of long-exiled Syrian opposition leaders met this weekend to unify their call for political change.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Afghan Protesters Rally for Fourth Day Over Quran Burning

U.S. State Department(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- In the only eastern Afghan city earmarked for transition to local security forces in July, about 500 villagers filled the streets of Mihtarlam Monday, shouting death to America and death to the pastors who burned a Quran more than two weeks ago, according to the local police chief.

In their fourth day of demonstrations, the protesters threw stones at police and had sticks in their hands, but in a good sign, police dispersed them by firing into the air -- rather than into the crowd, as they did in Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday and Kandahar on Saturday.

The protesters were stopped well before they were able to reach the center of the city, where the local United Nations office and the Laghman province governor’s house is located.

No injuries were reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Security Heightened in Libya as More Protests Expected

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Pro-Gadhafi security forces in Libya stepped up their efforts Friday as more demonstrations are planned throughout the country after Friday prayers.

Security forces kept control over the anti-government protesters in Tripoli, scattering them with tear gas and live fire. Military equipment, including tanks and anti-aircraft machine guns, were also set in place at intersections in and around the city.

The heightened security in Libya comes a day after President Obama publicy called for Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

"Let me just be very unambiguous about this. Col. Gadhafi needs to step down from power and leave," Obama told reporters at the White House Thursday.

Gadhafi has been at war over the past two weeks with anti-government forces who've taken control of eastern Libya, the location of the country's oil installations.  Since the unrest began, oil exports have slowed down to a trickle, which has sent the price of crude soaring.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Begins Evacuating Americans from Libya by Ferry

Photo Courtesy - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Amid fears of a civil war in Libya, the U.S. will begin evacuating thousands of American citizens from the country Wednesday.

The U.S. embassy in Tripoli issued a statement Tuesday saying a government-chartered ferry will transport Americans from Tripoli to the island of Malta.  The ferry will depart from the As-shahab port no later than 3:00 p.m., and those seeking to leave Libya must bring valid travel documents and should arrive at the pier no later than 10:00 a.m.

Americans who request evacuation will also be required to sign paperwork agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the cost of the trip, which is unknown at the moment.

Demonstrations began in Libya early last week as protesters called for the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.  Since then, violence has escalated between the anti-government protesters and security forces, leaving hundreds dead and hundreds more injured.

Gadhafi refuses to step down and has vowed to fight on to his "last drop of blood" and die a "martyr."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya's Gadhafi: 'I Am Here, Don't Believe the Dogs'

Photo Courtesy - Mustafa Ozer/AFP/ Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libyan strongman Moammar Gahdhafi made a brief television appearance shortly after midnight Tuesday, just long enough to say he hadn't fled the country.

"I am here to show that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela," he said.  "Don't believe those misleading dog stations."

As he sat in a vehicle, apparently outside his house, he told a state televsion interviewer that he had intended to go speak to supporters but decided not to because of rain.

Ghadafi's appearance, which had been anticipated all day, came as troops massed in Libya's capital of Tripoli in what many residents fear could turn into a massacre fueled by what an eyewitness in Tripoli told ABC News were foreign mercenaries.

"What I've seen today [Monday] is hundreds, if not thousands of troops" that are gathering along with helicopters, said a Libyan-American who's visiting family and did not want to be identified.  "Men on jeeps and military people in the town are coming in.  There is going to be a massacre."

The military was gathering in the nation's capital as multiple reports described a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.  Demonstrations have rocked the country in recent days and have spread from Libya's second-largest city of Benghazi to Tripoli.

Anti-government protesters are demanding the ouster of longtime dictator Gadhafi, who has ruled the country for 40 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bahrain Protests Continue; Direct Talks with Crown Prince Looming

Photo Courtesy - Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- Anti-government protesters in Bahrain are expected to take the streets Tuesday following a massive pro-government rally the night before.

Tuesday's protests will be tied to the funeral of 21-year-old Abdul Reada Bomajeed, who died in a hospital Monday from wounds he suffered four days ago.

It is unknown if the opposition forces will be able to muster enough bodies to contend with the estimated 50,000 pro-government protesters that lined the streets on Monday.

Even if the anti-government protesters manage to get over 100,000 people on the streets, it appears the Bahraini government has firmly decided that negotiation and discussion is the best avenue.

Direct negotiations between the crown prince and the politcal opposition have not yet begun.  The crown prince has been meeting with business, political, intellectual and social leaders as a warm up for the talks.

Revered political opposition leader Hasan Moshaimi will return to Bahrain Tuesday from London, where he was undergoing cancer treatment, and plans to address the crowd at Manama's Pearl Square.

Moshaimi's arrival is likely to unite the opposition and provide the voice necessary to begin direct discussions with the crown prince.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya Anti-Government Protests Spreading as Death Toll Rises

Photo Courtesy - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Protesters clashed with the police in Libya as the brutal crackdown over the weekend spread to the country's capital, Tripoli, where angry demonstrators stormed the state television station, set fire to government buildings and the Olympic Square.

Anti-government protesters demanding the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi reportedly laid siege to military bases as the unrest in the country spread. The BBC was reporting that Gadhafi ordered the Air Force to bomb his own bases so rebels can't get their hands on weapons, but reports could not be confirmed.

Protesters carrying placards and signs saying "Free Libya" and "Gadhafi - murderer, criminal," descended on the nation's capital and its second largest city this weekend despite the government crackdown.

One witness in Tripoli who identified himself only as Adam, told Al Jazeera English he saw mercenaries driving by in Land Cruisers firing indiscriminately. He said he also heard gunfire in the city's Green Square and heard planes overhead.

Oil prices surged Monday morning as violence spread across the Middle East. Companies and countries prepared to evacuate their staff and citizens as the United States ordered embassy family members and all non-emergency personnel to depart Libya.

The escalating violence comes a day after Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, insisted in a televised message that his father is still in the country and in control and warned of a civil war if the protests aren't controlled. He vowed that they would "fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet."

He also blamed the uprising on Islamic extremists and foreigners, claimed the media was exaggerating casualty figures, and offered his people a deal: constitutional reform and a new government in 48 hours or civil war.

The State Department said it was "gravely concerned" about the "disturbing reports and images coming out of Libya," and said it had received "multiple credible reports that hundreds of people have been killed and injured in several days of unrest."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Calls for Restraint Following Violence in Bahrain

Photo Courtesy - Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. is appealing to the government of Bahrain to show restraint and usher in political reform after security forces used violence to break up pro-democracy protests, leaving at least five people dead.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the appeal to the Bahraini foreign minister Thursday, hours after military police roused sleeping protesters in the middle of Manama's main square by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Clinton, who spoke directly with Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, cautioned the Bahraini government against disrupting funerals of the slain demonstrators planned for Friday.

The Obama administration is keeping a watchful eye on the fluid situation in Bahrain, which is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a strong ally of Saudi Arabia, another Arab nation that may soon experience the anti-government protests that have spread rapidly throughout the Middle East over the past month.

President Obama has taken an even more measured approach to the situation in Bahrain than he did with Egypt, being careful not to overtly criticize its ruling monarchy.

The president's message thus far to Middle East allies is for these autocratic regimes to begin instituting democratic reforms before they're forced to do so.

In Bahrain, opposition forces are calling for the prime minister to step down, as well as demanding improvements in quality of life issues such as wages and housing.  As in Egypt and Tunisia, the protesters have been spurred on by bloggers using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are more difficult for the government to suppress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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