Revolution underway throughout the Middle East
Algeria – Heavily outnumbered by riot police, thousands of Algerians defied government warnings and dodged barricades to rally in their capital demanding democratic reforms. This could have implications for the world economy because Algeria is a major oil and gas exporter.
Yemen – Yemenis have clashed with police in the capital Sanaa on the third day of anti-government protests. Violence broke out as demonstrators, inspired by the Egyptian uprising, marched through the city, demanding political reform and the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Iran – Protesters, including university students, lorry drivers and gold merchants are said to be organizing marches across the country under the umbrella of the country’s Green movement, apparently inspired by recent demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia.
Morocco – Wikileaks revealed allegations of increased corruption, in particular the royal family’s business affairs and the “appalling greed” of people close to King Mohammed VI. But Morocco, like Egypt and Algeria, does allow limited freedom of expression and has so far been able to contain protests.
Jordan – King Abdullah swore in a new government, which has promised to widen public freedoms in response to the anti-government protests that have swept the region.
Palestine – Source tells Reuters “massive change” is expected in the composition of President Abbas’ government; negotiations to start with Palestinian factions “immediately.”
Syria – Syrian activists have turned to Facebook, calling for a “day of rage”. Although the site is officially blocked, people routinely get around the restrictions. The activists are calling for peaceful protests against Syria’s “monarchy, corruption and tyranny”.
Iraq – A jobless 30-year-old man in northern Iraq set himself on fire on Sunday in protest at his plight and later died of his injuries. The man had committed suicide near the city’s Tahrir (“Liberation”) Square, which shares the same name as the Cairo epicentre of the popular uprising that toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Friday.
There has been a rash of copycat suicides or attempted suicides across the Arab world ever since a 26-year-old unlicensed fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire last December in an act of protest, that ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali before later spreading to Egypt.