Yemen: 'Day of rage' in state seen as militant threat

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The Independent Online

The country considered by the US to be second only to Afghanistan in the "war on terror" saw tens of thousands take to the streets on yesterday's "Day of Rage", with police opening fire to disperse the crowd.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power for three decades like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, has agreed not to run for office in the elections due in 2013, and has also insisted that his son Ahmed, seen as the political heir apparent, will not be in the running to take over the leadership.

However, tens of thousands marched in the capital, Sanaa, and elsewhere across the country yesterday, some chanting "down, down with the regime". Protesters were injured in Sanaa and the eastern town of Mukaala, and, as in Cairo, there were clashes between opponents and supporters of the President.

Mohammed al-Sabri, undersecretary of the main opposition party, Islamic Islah, said that people did not believe that Mr Saleh would leave of his own accord. He said: "We have made demands we discussed with the regime for the last three years, but they have led to nothing."

President Saleh has called on the opposition to take part in a coalition government.

Algeria: Emergency rule to be lifted soon

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, announced that a state of emergency which had lasted for 19 years during a civil war with Islamists would be lifted soon. He added that protest marches hitherto largely banned would be permitted everywhere except the capital, Algiers.

The laws were put in place as part of a conflict with militants that killed about 200,000 people but abated in recent years.

President Bouteflika also pledged that the government would launch a new job creation programme and the state-controlled broadcast station would air opposition views.

Jordan: King to meet with Muslim Brotherhood

The King of Jordan yesterday met with the Muslim Brotherhood for the first time in nearly a decade as part of a bid to soothe growing demands for political reform.

The Muslim Brotherhood claimed to have turned down a role in the country's government. It is at the forefront of weeks of protests calling for elections to replace the current regime.

The demonstrations in Jordan are said to be more narrowly based than the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The King still retains broad public approval.

Syria: Protesters plan march against 'tyranny'

Activists were using Facebook and Twitter to call for a "Day of Anger" against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad yesterday in protest against what they described as the country's "monocracy, corruption and tyranny".

The authorities have said that although they are prepared to discuss the grievances of the populace, unauthorised protests will not be tolerated.

The Baath party has been in power in Syria since it passed a 1963 emergency law banning all opposition groups. President Bashar al-Assad has instituted a range of measures to combat poverty in response to the unrest.