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Protests Take Over Middle East, Libya

Jenny Chen |
February 17, 2011 | 6:08 p.m. PST

Associate News Editor

via Twitter
via Twitter

Conflict and protest erupted across the Middle East and North Africa on Thursday, leaving several hundred people injured and the stability of the nations in question. 

Libyan protesters joined together in what activists had dubbed a “Day of Rage” and social media sites had promoted. Numbers have yet to be confirmed, but up to 21 deaths have been reported. 

Protestors joined together across the nation, including some lawyers demonstrating in front of a courthouse in Benghazi, the nation’s second largest city, to demand the nation have a constitution. 

A protestor told CNN over telephone that about 3,000 people marched toward the courthouse after midday prayers. The protestor said police had knives and live ammunition to break up the crowd. 

A second eyewitness, Abdullah, told Al Jazeera that he saw police shoot six unarmed protesters. Abdullah said the government also released 30 people from jail so they could help fight against the crowds. 

In Bahrain, tens of thousands rallied in Pearl Square. Reuters reported at least four were killed, 231 injured, and opposition leaders say 60 are missing. 
The Thursday morning attack in Pearl Square shocked most protesters who had been peacefully sleeping.
“They told us we had three days in the square,” one man said, quoted by the LA Times. “And then they attack us on the second day.” 
After the morning raid, many went to the hospital to try and find their loved ones.
BBC had a quote from Ammar Hussain Ali from Bahrain, “My mother went to the hospital to give blood. She said there were 4,000 people gathered there. People were angry, shouting ‘down with the government,’ ‘it’s over now’ and ‘we want peace in Bahrain.’ My mother said that there were policemen around the hospital with guns, mixing with the crowds.” 
ABC News Correspondent Miguel Marquez was attacked in Bahrain while he was on the phone with ABC News in New York. “There was a canister that looked like – No! No! No! Hey! I’m a journalist here!” Marquez said while on the phone. “I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! I’m going!” 
Marquez also said that after two protestors were killed, the crowd got even bigger.  
According to witnesses, thousands of anti-government protesters faced off against President Ali Abdullah Saleh supporters in the capital of Yemen, San’a. In the early afternoon, several anti-government protesters marched toward San’a University but were quickly chased out by government supporters who arrived armed with sticks, clubs and pipes. 
The Wall Street Journal reports that two died in southern Yemen in Aden Thursday, bringing the total death toll in Yemen to at least four.  An 18-year-old died after police fired into the crowd, said witness Aref al-Qubati
Protester Adib Salam told CBC News that police shot rubber bullets and live rounds and attacked with batons and stun guns. 
Iraq joined in to the drama and conflict affecting the Middle East and Africa, with at least one person killed and over 30 injured in the northern city Sulaimaniya. About 1,000 people gathered to demonstrate for political reform. 
Reach reporter Jenny Chen here.
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