Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mass protests spread in Middle East as Washington reassures Israel, Arab dictators

By Bill Van Auken, wsws.org, 15 February 2011

Inspired by the Egyptian people’s overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, protests continued to spread in the Middle East on Monday, as Washington scrambled to reassure Israel and pro-US regimes in the region of its continued support.

For a fourth straight day, demonstrators in cities throughout Yemen clashed with security forces and mobs of plainclothes policemen and hired thugs posing as supporters of the US-backed government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In the capital city of Sana’a, the anti-government demonstrations grew in size on Monday. The AFP news agency said that over 3,000 people attempted to march towards the city’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square to demand the ouster of President Saleh, who has ruled the country for more than 32 years.

As they neared the square, they were attacked by riot police using batons, rifle butts and electric cattle prods. Mobs of plainclothes police thugs then attacked demonstrators with daggers and broken bottles.

Among those demonstrating were the country’s lawyers dressed in black robes. The protesters chanted, “The people want the regime to step down,” “leave Saleh” and “After Mubarak, Ali.”

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