A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in the Middle East on Saturday:
Moammar Gadhafi loyalists sweep into the opposition-held city closest to Tripoli, tightening security around the regime-held capital. To the east, rebel forces capture a key oil port as the country veers toward civil war.
The contrasting fortunes of the two warring sides suggest that the conflict in Libya could last for weeks and maybe months, with neither side mustering enough military power to decisively defeat the other. The government is fighting fiercely to maintain its hold in Tripoli and surrounding areas and the rebels are pushing their front westward from their eastern stronghold.
Increasing pressure on Yemen’s embattled president, several members of his ruling Congress Party resign as tens of thousands take to the streets to demand his ouster and Britain warns its citizens against all travel to the impoverished Arab nation. President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejects a proposal by a coalition of Yemeni opposition groups to end the political standoff by agreeing to step down by year’s
Bahrain’s Shiite protesters form a huge human chain around the capital as their campaign to loosen the Sunni monarchy’s grip on power in the strategic Gulf nation enters the third week. No police are in sight when thousands of protesters—men and women—hold hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain’s Shiite majority has been staging daily marches and demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.
Hundreds of Egyptians march on buildings belonging to the internal security service in Cairo, a day after they storm one of its offices and beat up officers in a show of anger at the agency blamed for some of the worst human rights violations during ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. The fate of Egypt’s internal security agencies remains one of the most contentious issue facing the military rulers who took charge of the country from Mubarak when he was forced to step down on Feb. 11 after the 18-day popular uprising.
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says demonstrations will not be tolerated following a protest by about 100 members of the Shiite minority in the eastern region of the kingdom. The ministry says in a statement that the kingdom bans all demonstrations because they contradict Islamic laws and society’s values.
The ministry says some people have tried to go around the law to “achieve illegitimate aims,” and it warned that security forces were authorized to act against violators.
Government officials say protests demanding economic reforms by Oman’s ruler reached a key oil region in the Arabian Peninsula country.
The officials say workers stage a sit-in at a main oil field in Haima, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Muscat, demanding more state investments in the area. The officials speak on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Algerian pro-Democracy protesters’ fifth bid in six weeks to march in the capital is again put down by police.
Unlike pro-Democracy movements in neighboring Tunisia and Libya, Algeria’s protest movements have yet to get off the ground. Police put down three separate march bids in the capital that also drew demonstrators who turned out in favor of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Many Algerians say they are tired of conflict after being subjected to years of violence due to an Islamist insurgency.