Connect to share and comment

Continued protests in the Middle East (VIDEO)

Residents of other Middle Eastern capitals took to the streets, claiming solidarity with Libyans in their stand against Muammar Gaddafi and voicing complaints against their own leaders.

to the director of the refinery. Fuel and power shortages across Iraq are expected.

Elsewhere in Iraq, protests continued as demonstrators turned out in the streets. Their numbers were far smaller than Friday when at least 16 protesters were killed across the country. On Saturday, one person was killed in confrontations between security forces and demonstrators in the city of Kirkuk.


The Friday demonstrations were to protest against corruption and a lack of basic services in an organized nationwide "day of rage."

News reports say the deaths occurred as demonstrators tried to storm government buildings in at least two northern Iraqi cities, Mosul and Hawija.

In the capital, Baghdad, protesters reportedly clashed with riot police, sometimes violently. Hundreds of people carrying Iraqi flags and banners streamed into Tahrir Square, which was under heavy security, according to Al Jazeera. Elsewhere, demonstrators knocked down blast walls, threw rocks and scuffled with club-wielding troops.

Friday's demonstration, planned for weeks, is the latest in a series of protests in Iraq. Demonstrators have been calling for better public services and measures to clean up government corruption.

Ahmed Rushdi, head of the House of Iraq Expertise Foundation, said he tried to join the protests in Baghdad but was prevented from doing so by the army.

"This is not a political protest, but a protest by the people of Iraq. We want social reform, jobs for young people and direct supervision because there is lots of corruption," Rushdi told Al Jazeera.

Yemen

The leader of one of Yemen's most important tribes joined the anti-regime movement Saturday, effectively abandoning President Ali Abdullah Saleh and escalating pressure on the leader to step down.

"I have announced my resignation from the General People's Congress in protest at the repression of peaceful demonstrators in Sana, Taez and Aden," Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah Ahmar told members of the Hashid tribe in a gathering north of Sana, the capital, according to the Los Angeles Times. Tribe members reportedly broke out into anti-government chants after his remarks.

The Hashid tribe is one of Yemen's largest and most influential. Also at the meeting were members of the Baqil tribe, according to news network Al Arabiya. Both tribes are said to have withdrawn support from the Yemeni leader.

Saleh has ruled the country since 1978, maintaining his grip on power by courting allegiances from key members of the powerful tribes.

The resignations came after the death toll rose to four Saturday after police reportedly fired into a crowd of protesters.

About 180,000 protesters took to the streets Friday in the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in the nation's history. The protests were markedly larger than ones earlier in the week, which mostly consisted of students.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis held demonstrations in the capital on Friday, with opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and loyalists protesting just two miles apart from one another, Reuters reported.

Outside Sanaa University, where earlier this week pro-government elements opened fire on 3,000 Yemenis calling for an end to Saleh’s 32-year rule, killing two, anti-government protesters chanted: "The people demand the downfall of the regime."

Across town, loyalists shouted support for a leader they said was holding the fractured and impoverished tribal nation together. "The creator of unity is in our hearts. We will not abandon him," they chanted.

Hundreds of tribesmen from areas surrounding Sanaa have arrived at Sanaa University to join in the call for Saleh to relinquish power, reports Jeb Boone for GlobalPost. One tribesman from Arhab promised that hundreds more from his village would arrive soon.

Many tribal leaders in the country's unsettled north have pledged loyalty to Hamid al-Ahmar, a leading member of Yemen’s Islamist political party, risking a dangerous split in loyalties between Ahmar and Saleh, whose father is a member of the northern confederation of tribes.

A revolution in northern Yemen could descend into a civil war split between factions loyal to Saleh and the other loyal to al-Ahmer, writes Boone.

Jordan

Thousands protested in Amman in what many said was the largest of eight consecutive Friday demonstrations in the Jordanian capital, reports GlobalPost contributor Heather Murdock.

Protesters demanded parliamentary and government elections and denounced the prime minister, recently appointed by King Abdullah II.

They were joined by thousands of police officers, who passed out juice boxes and water bottles.

Jordan's leading opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, led the protests, joined by youth groups, smaller political parties and independent activists.

Locals say soaring prices for goods and services, low wages and government corruption continues to drive the unrest, and new groups are traveling to Amman each time to join the demonstrations.

Many planned to camp out on the streets overnight, and said they would not leave until they were guaranteed that their demands would be met.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/110225/middle-east-misdast-libya-bahrain-egypt-iraq-syria