Politics & Policy

Times: Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out in Middle East

A nice wrap here


In Iraq, demonstrations for better government services spiraled out of control in many places. Protesters burned buildings and security forces fired on crowds in Baghdad, Mosul, Ramadi and in Salahuddin Province, north of the capital, killing at least four people.

Large-scale demonstrations in Yemen appeared to proceed more peacefully, even festively. More than 100,000 people poured into the streets on Friday, after Yemen’s embattled president pledged on Wednesday not to crack down on protesters.

In Egypt, tens of thousands of people returned to Tahrir Square in central Cairo to celebrate one full month since the start of the popular revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

In Bahrain, pro-democracy demonstrations on a scale that appeared to dwarf the largest ever seen in the tiny Persian Gulf nation blocked miles of downtown roads and highways in Manama, the capital, on Friday. The crowds overflowed from Pearl Square in the center of the city for the second time in a week.

On Friday for the first time, it was the country’s Shiite religious leaders, rather than the political opposition, who called for people to take to the streets.

In Bahrain, a Sunni monarch rules over a mostly Shiite population that says it has long faced discrimination in employment and other areas, and the protests in recent weeks have drawn mostly Shiites to the streets. Although some of the chants and symbols Friday had a religious cast, protesters’ demands remained the same — emphasizing a nonsectarian call for democracy and the downfall of the government.


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