Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Arrests over Bahrain deaths as protests continue there and elsewhere




An apology from the king of Bahrain over the killings of those involved in protests there. Two demonstrators and a police officer were killed. King Hamad Bin-Isa Al-Khalifa has set up a panel to investigate the deaths. Protesters gathered today to demonstrate at the funerals of those who were killed. The nation’s interior minister has also apologized and announced that “those responsible” for the killings have been arrested.
Meanwhile, demonstrations continue elsewhere in the region – including – notably – in Egypt – despite the resignation of Hosni Mubarak as the nation’s three-decade’s-long president.
Protesters there say they won’t be satisfied until a representative government is installed. The Egyptian military is in control of the country – at least for the moment – but it has pledged that it will create what the people have been demanding, promising a revised constitution in just 10 days and elections within six months.
Among those claiming a seat at the political table is the Muslim Brotherhood, the officially banned organization that was responsible for the assassination, three decades ago, of then-president Anwar Sadat – which propelled his then-vice president, Mubarak, into power.
The Brotherhood announced Tuesday it was creating a political party. This could serve to mitigate the extremist threat of the organization by making it part of the system. Or, other observers fear and predict, could lead to greater influence and a leaning toward a more religiously fundamentalist government.
Of perhaps greatest concern is the Brotherhood’s stated desire to end the peace treaty with Israel.
Meanwhile, protest continue in Algeria today. The government there has responded by blocking Facebook and the Internet to make it difficult to organize demonstrations.
In Yemen, large numbers of police were reported on the streets of the nation’s capital in an attempt to quell the nearly week-long demonstrations there.
And in Iran, where there were also two deaths on Monday, clashes between security forces and mourners at one of their funerals. It was not clear whether the two killed were protesters or government agents beset upon by the crowds.

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