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Unrest in the Middle East and Africa -- country by country

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Bahrain
  • Cameroon
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Syria
  • Yemen

(CNN) -- Demonstrations have spread across parts of the Middle East and Africa. Here are the latest developments, including the roots of the unrest:

Sunday developments:


Officials said Sunday that the Egypt Stock Exchange plans to open on Tuesday. The markets have been closed since January 27.

Several thousand people protested Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square to urge Egypt's new rulers to implement promised reforms. They pressed Egypt's Supreme Council to end an emergency law and release political prisoners, among other things. They also pressed for civilian representation in the government.

Roots of unrest:

Complaints about police corruption and abuses were among the top grievances of demonstrators who forced President Hosni Mubarak from office. Demonstrators were also angry about Mubarak's 30-year rule, a lack of free elections and economic issues such as high food prices, low wages and high unemployment.


Libya's embattled leader, Moammar Gadhafi, seemed increasingly cornered Sunday as security forces defected to the opposition in a town a short drive from the capital, and the United Nations Security Council voted for tough restrictions on and possible war crimes charges against the Libyan regime.

About 100,000 people have fled the violence in Libya in the past week, including 10,000 into Tunisia on Saturday alone, aid groups said Sunday. After weeks of protests, Gadhafi showed no sign of relinquishing his power. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Gadhafi "must go," but Gadhafi's son, Saif, told CNN's Nic Robertson he was confident the regime could survive the unrest and ultimately reunite Libya. More than 1,000 people have been killed in clashes in recent days, according to the United Nations.

Roots of unrest:

Protests in Libya began in January when demonstrators, fed up with delays, broke into a housing project the government was building and occupied it. Gadhafi's government, which has ruled since a 1969 coup, responded with a $24 billion fund for housing and development. A month later, more demonstrations were sparked when police detained relatives of those killed in an alleged 1996 massacre at the Abu Salim prison, according to Human Rights Watch. High unemployment has also fueled the protests.


The prime minister of Tunisia has stepped down from the interim government, according to the country's official news agency. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi said, "I am resigning today because I am not willing to be a person that takes decisions that could cause casualties."

Three people were killed Saturday in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the capital, Tunis, according to the Interior Ministry. At least nine people were injured and more than 100 arrested, according to the state-run news agency, TAP.

Roots of unrest

The revolt was triggered when an unemployed college graduate set himself ablaze after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income. Protesters complained about high unemployment, corruption, rising prices and political repression.

An interim government came to power after an uprising prompted autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country on January 14. Those demonstrations sparked protests around North Africa and the Middle East.


The largest opposition bloc in Yemen will hold protest rallies on Tuesday, the group announced Sunday. Leaders of Yemen's Joint Meeting Parties are calling on followers to demonstrate in support of anti-government demonstrators throughout the country. This is the first time the opposition has called on its supporters to take to the streets since February 3, which had been branded a day of rage, a common term for the mass protests that have spread across the Middle East and parts of Africa.

Leaders of two tribal groups in Yemen say they will join protests demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, following violent crackdowns on demonstrators in Aden. Medical officials said Saturday that four people died and 26 were wounded -- some critically -- following clashes that erupted Friday night between anti-government protesters and security forces in southern Yemen.

Amnesty International said at least 11 people had died in Friday's protests, bringing the overall death toll since protests began to 27.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters have called for the ouster of Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978. The country has been wracked by a Shiite Muslim uprising, a U.S.-aided crackdown on al Qaeda operatives and a looming shortage of water. High unemployment fuels much of the anger among a growing young population steeped in poverty. The protesters also cite government corruption and a lack of political freedom. Saleh has promised not to run for president in the next round of elections.


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave government ministers 100 days to deliver results and eliminate corruption or be fired, the government announced after an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday. The announcement follows weeks of demonstrations across the country by protesters angry about unemployment, poor basic services, corruption and a lack of freedom. At least 13 people died in protests Friday. The prime minister said Sunday there would be investigations into the deaths to determine who started the violence.

Roots of unrest:

Demonstrations in Iraq have usually not targeted the national government. Instead, the protesters are angry over corruption, the quality of basic services, a crumbling infrastructure and high unemployment, particularly on a local level. They want an end to frequent power outages and food shortages.



Bahrain's king reshuffled his cabinet Saturday as protesters continued to call for reforms and a key opposition leader returned to the country. Hassan Mushaimaa, the leader of the Haq Movement, a large opposition party, had planned to return earlier in the week to give a speech on national unity. But his return was delayed by his detention in Lebanon, which he blamed on Bahrain's rulers.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters initially took to the streets of Manama to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy. But some are now calling for the removal of the royal family, which has led the Persian Gulf state since the 18th century. Young members of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have staged protests in recent years to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said authorities launched a clampdown on dissent in 2010. It accused the government of torturing some human rights activists.


Protesters returned to Blocat Square in the capital, Nouakchott, on Saturday, hours after police chased demonstrators from the square. One person was arrested during that melee. But young people returned by evening, promising to continue the protests over the next several days. The call to action started last week on Facebook, which is said to be very popular in Mauritania, sources tell CNN.

Roots of unrest

In January, a man set himself on fire in front of the presidential palace, according to news reports -- a self-immolation in the same spirit as others in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and elsewhere. There have been two bloodless coups since 2005 in the country, which borders Algeria and Mali, with ex-Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz serving as president since 2009.


Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi and their wives were placed in a safe house for their own welfare, but they have not been arrested, Iranian government sources told CNN Saturday. However, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed concern for the safety of the leaders and their spouses.

Roots of unrest:

Opposition to the ruling clerics has simmered since the 2009 election, when hundreds of thousands of people filled Tehran streets to denounce Ahmadinejad's re-election as fraudulent. Iranian authorities began rounding up many government opponents this month amid calls for protests like those that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East.


A large demonstration in downtown Amman on Friday ended peacefully a week after clashes erupted between pro-government and anti-government demonstrators near the Al Husseini Mosque. Protesters in Jordan have called for reforms and for abolishing the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.

Roots of unrest:

Jordan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and rising commodity prices, and youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Officials close to the palace have told CNN that King Abdullah II is trying to turn a regional upheaval into an opportunity for reform. He swore in a new government following anti-government protests. The new government has a mandate for political reform and is headed by a former general, with opposition and media figures among its ranks.


The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday night to punish Moammar Gadhafi's government in Libya for violence against unarmed civilians In an emergency session, the 15-member council agreed to slap new sanctions on Gadhafi's government and referred the strongman to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an effective solution to end the violence against anti-government protesters and a Libyan envoy tearfully asked the Security Council to step in.


Roots of unrest:

Protests began in January over escalating food prices, high unemployment and housing issues. They started in Algiers but spread to other cities as more people joined and demonstrators toppled regimes in Tunisia and, later, Egypt. Analysts called Bouteflika's announcement about lifting the state of emergency law an attempt to head off a similar revolt.


Thousands of people have marched in protest through Djibouti. On February 18, riot police charged the crowd after the call to evening prayers, shooting canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, according to Aly Verjee, director of the international election observation mission to Djibouti, who witnessed the event. Djibouti is home to Camp Lemonnier, the only U.S. military base on the African continent.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters have called for President Ismail Omar Guelleh -- whose family has ruled the country since its independence from France in 1977 -- to step down ahead of elections scheduled in April. Guelleh has held the post since 1999 and is seeking a third term. Economic stagnation is also a source of anger among the people.


Protesters in Kuwait have clashed with authorities on at least two occasions. Hundreds of protesters are demanding greater rights for longtime residents who are not citizens of the country. They also demanded the release of people arrested in demonstrations. On February 19, protesters attacked the security forces, who managed to disperse people and make arrests. The forces used tear gas on the demonstration involving between 200 and 400 protesters.

Roots of unrest:

Protesters are seeking greater rights for longtime residents who are not Kuwaiti citizens, an issue the country has been grappling with for decades. According to the CIA World Factbook, Kuwait has 2.7 million people, with 1.3 million registered as "non-nationals."


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has decided not to run for another term in 2015, a senior member of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party said. Al-Bashir has ruled since a military coup in 1989. He won another five-year term in a 2010 vote that opposition parties boycotted over complaints of fraud. He also faces an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the region of Darfur.

Demonstrators have clashed with authorities on recent occasions in Sudan. Human Rights Watch has said that "authorities used excessive force during largely peaceful protests on January 30 and 31 in Khartoum and other northern cities." Witnesses said several people were arrested, including 20 who remain missing.

Roots of unrest:

Demonstrators seek an end to National Congress Party rule and government-imposed price increases, according to Human Rights Watch. It accuses the government of being heavy-handed in its response to demonstrations, and using pipes, sticks and tear gas to disperse protesters.


As protests heated up around the region, the Syrian government pulled back from a plan to withdraw some subsidies that keep the cost of living down in the country. President Bashar al-Assad also gave a rare interview to Western media, telling The Wall Street Journal last month that he planned reforms that would allow local elections and included a new media law and more power for private organizations. A planned "Day of Rage" that was being organized on Facebook against the al-Assad government failed to materialize, The New York Times reported.

Roots of unrest:

Opponents of the al-Assad government allege massive human rights abuses, and an emergency law has been in effect since 1963.


Protesters have taken to the streets in cities across Morocco to call for political reform. Labor unions, youth organizations and human rights groups demonstrated in at least six cities on Sunday. Police stayed away from the demonstrations, most of which were peaceful, Human Rights Watch reported.

Roots of unrest

Protesters in Morocco are calling for political reform. Government officials say such protests are not unusual and that the protesters' demands are on the agenda of most political parties.


Hundreds of Palestinians rallied for unity this month in Ramallah, West Bank, calling on Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian political factions to heal their rifts amid arguments over elections scheduled for September in the Palestinian territories. "Division generates corruption" was one of the banner slogans from demonstrators, who flooded the streets after calls went out on social-networking sites as well as at schools and university campuses.

Roots of unrest:

The Palestinian territories have not seen the kind of demonstrations as in many Arab countries, but the Fatah leaders of the Palestinian Authority have been under criticism since Al-Jazeera published secret papers claiming to reveal that Palestinian officials were prepared to make wide-ranging concessions in negotiations with Israel. Negotiations toward a resolution of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict have since collapsed. Palestinian protests, largely in support of Egypt and Tunisia, were generally small and poorly attended. In some cases the Hamas rulers of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority rulers of the West Bank actively tried to stifle protests. The split between Hamas and Fatah hampers internal change in the territories, although calls for political change are growing louder. Large-scale protests have failed to materialize as many Palestinians believe their problem remains Israel.

Demonstrators gathered in the city center had demanded that the prime minister, who was appointed executive by the ousted president, step down. They also want a new constitution and an assembly to oversee the transition to democracy.

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