Even as the Egyptian Army struggles to disperse labour protesters, the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak has sparked violent agitations in other countries across the Arab world. Anti-government protesters clashed with police, demanding political reform and better governance.
Responding to calls for a “Day of Rage”, Bahrain’s security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters on Monday in advance of plans to stage major rallies and bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf for the first time. Yemenis took to the streets for the fourth consecutive day demanding the resignation of their President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Reminiscent of the massive protests in Iran in June 2010, Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi have been under house arrest since last week after they asked the government for permission to hold a rally in support of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Vexed by water and electricity shortages and bad civic amenities, hundreds of Iraqis took out a rally and warned the government to "take lessons from Egypt and Tunisia". While the rallies in Iraq are relatively small, organisers promise larger gatherings on February 25.
In Kuwait, opposition groups had called for an anti-government protest last week, but shifted the date to March 8 after the resignation of the country’s scandal-tainted interior minister.
Following a massive rally on Saturday, an umbrella group for human rights activists, unionists, lawyers and others in Algeria has called for nation-wide demonstrations on February 19. Algeria’s foreign minister has dismissed the protest marches in his country as actions by a small minority - and not the start of popular uprisings like those in Tunisia or in Egypt.
Human Rights groups have alleged violations by police against protesters and have called upon authorities to abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms. Human Rights Watch said police used sticks, daggers, tasers and batons to electrocute and beat back thousands of protesters in Yemen on Sunday.