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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protests and Arrests for "Martyrs Day" in Manama

Bahraini activist Said Yousif faces a ring of police officers just before his arrest on Monday

1500 GMT: Bahrain. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights claims that 24 men and three women were arrested on Monday during the crackdown on "Martyrs Day" marches by security forces.

The BCHR says its Acting Vice President Said Yousif AlMuhafdha was seized and charged with broadcasting false information through Twitter. A court has ordered a seven-day detention.

1420 GMT: Egypt. The US has urged Cairo and the International Monetary Fund to reach an agreement on the $4.8 billion loan --- suddenly postponed on 11 December --- "as quickly as possible".

Last week, amid the political crisis over President Morsi's attempt to expand his powers via decree, Washington advised Egypt to ask for a delay until January.

The IMF's Board of Directors had been scheduled to issue a final decision on the loan on 19 December, but Morsi rescinded a decision to raise taxes --- a condition of getting the loan --- within 24 hours of issuing it.

1132 GMT: Iraq. President Jalal Talabani has had a stroke and "medical teams are working to stabilise him".

A statement on Talabani's website had said, "Due to fatigue and tiredness, [the President] had a health emergency and was the hospital in Baghdad."

0950 GMT: Israel and Palestine. After four days of intensive meetings between the Ministry of Interior and the Jerusalem Municipality’s planning committees, officials are expected to approve almost 6500 apartments on Palestinian territory in and near East Jerusalem.

“The approval of this program is an important and positive step for the Interior Ministry, in order to improve the housing issue while simultaneously strengthening Jerusalem,” said Minister of Interior Eli Yishai.

The Palestinian Authority is planning to file a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council over the new project.

0945 GMT: Yemen. Insurgents have struck a natural gas pipeline in southeastern Shabwa province with two artillery rockets.

The 320-kilometre (200-mile) pipeline has been repeatedly since last year. Two of Yemen's oil pipelines are still shut after successive bombings early last month.

Authorities have been negotiating with tribes, signing an agreement with the elders to allow teams to fix the damages and to prevent more attacks.

0915 GMT: Egypt. Public Prosecutor, appointed by President Morsi last month, resigned on Monday.

The Supreme Judiciary Council said it will meet Sunday on whether to accept the resignation.

The resignation comes amid continuing tension between Morsi and the judiciary, angered by the President's decree of 22 November. Many judges have refused to oversee the referendum on the Constitution, which has had to be scheduled over two days because of the shortage of supervisors.

0715 GMT: Saudi Arabia. A judge has referred activist Raef Badawi to a higher court on a charge of apostasy, which could lead to the death penalty.

Badawi, who was arrested a June in Jeddah, is a co-founder of the Saudi Liberal Network.

0645 GMT: Bahrain. The regime's Bahrain News Agency puts out a cheerleading press release this morning:

The festival titled "We Are All Hamad", being organised by the General Organization for Youth and Sports (GOYS) marking the National Day celebrations and His Majesty King Hamad's accession to the throne, continued at the Bahrain City Centre.

Large number of mall goers visited various corners at the mall that were set up by GOYS as they joined celebrations at the festival on this very special occasion.

The campaign aims to gather all the Bahrain communities segments and involve them in the kingdom’s celebration of this special occasion.

There are two corners fixed at the centre with lots of souvenirs to be given away at an attractive price. 

The press release somehow fails to note that some Bahrainis passed up the souvenirs and the mall on Monday. Instead they marched through the capital Manama, not for "National Day" but for "Martyrs Day" --- remembering those who have been killed amid protests against the regime --- and to challenge the King rather than praise him.

Bahraini police did their best to direct the demonstrators towards the festival, breaking up marches with tear gas and pepper spray and making arrests. One of those detained was Said Yousif, a leading official of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights --- he tweeted simply, "Arrested", and then fell silent. There is no further news of his situation, nor that of others who were seized on Monday.

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