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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Watching the Protests

Security forces, using hot water, scatter protesters in Aldaih in Bahrain after dispersing a funeral procession (see 1347 GMT)

See also Bahrain Opinion: No Reform, So Why is the Grand Prix Going Ahead?
Syria Audio Feature: Iranian Rappers Sing for the People of Homs
Sunday's Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Violence Escalates
Syria Live Coverage: Defiance in Damascus

2225 GMT: Apologies for limited service tonight, as EA staff have been travelling and giving presentations. We will be back from 0600 GMT with latest news.

1805 GMT: A Bahraini court has acquitted former MP Matar Matar, a leading member of the opposition society Al Wefaq, of taking part in "unlawful" protests.

The last of three charges, "undermining public security by assembling with a group of more than five people", was dropped on Monday by a court in Manama.

Authorities had released Matar and another Al-Wefaq member, Jawad Fayruz, in August after three months of detention.

1730 GMT: Protesters makes another dash for Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain as security forces fire sound bombs:

1720 GMT: In a clip from Saturday, Syrian regime tanks open fire in the Baba Amr section of Homs:

1610 GMT: James Miller reports from the road....

For over a month the Free Syrian Army has had control of Kafer Takharim, in Idlib Province. The opposition commanders there agreed to a cease-fire with the pro-Assad military, halting any assault on the city in exchange for a cessation of any attacks on nearby forces or local police.

That cease-fire has been broken by the Syrian military, according to activists, as tanks and soldiers have stormed the town.

EA sources also report that there are renewed assaults on Zabadani (20 miles northwest of Damascus) and Rankous (due north of Damascus). Columns of tanks have been spotted on the roads outside several Damascus suburbs.

1525 GMT: An update from James Miller, who is on the road today:

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria post a significant update:

Damascus Suburbs: Sbeineh: All the personnel at the Sbeineh police station have defected with all of their materiel, including ammunition and vehicles

Sbeneh is just south of Damascus, near neighbourhoods that have seen increased protests such as Al Hajar al Aswad. While Ghouta (the name of the area east of Damascus that covers many suburbs, including Irbeen and Douma) has a strong protest movement, and has at times had a large presence of Free Syrian Army fighters, the neighbourhoods and suburbs to the south and west, closer to the heart of the city, also have growing opposition movements. If this trend continues, Damascus could soon be encircled by areas sympathetic to the resistance.

The potential defection of armed, trained, police officers, possibly with vehicles, is not only a significant if small loss for the regime and addition for the militarized wing of the opposition, it could also encourage protests to the south of the city. If the police have started to join the opposition south of Damascus, then what will keep the protesters from turning out in larger numbers?

Most of the other news so far this morning, thus far, appears to be coming from Daraa and its suburbs, where large protests, large numbers of arrests, and a good deal of violence is reported.

1520 GMT: Another group of protesters have tried to reach Pearl Roundabout, the symbolic centre of the demonstrations in Bahrain --- they have been blocked by security forces who fired tear gas at them:

Another group makes a dash for the Roundabout:

1347 GMT: Mourners have gathered in Jidhafs in Bahrain for the funeral of Hussain Albugali, who died of burns on Thursday. Chants have included, "Down with the Tyrant".

Security forces have now broken up the procession.

The crowd gathered for the funeral:

Mourners fleeing from security forces:

1344 GMT: Back from an academic break to find the claim of the Local Coordination Committees of Syria that seven people have been killed in the Baba Amr section of Homs, five by shelling and two by snipers.

The LCCS also said two people died in Hama, and one each in Hasaka, Idlib, and Douma.

0611 GMT: Economist Mohammad Al-Afandi has claimed that poverty in Yemen is now 70% and unemployment is 40%, with a growth rate near zero and reserves of foreign currency falling to $4.5 billion.

Al-Afandi, a former minister of commerce and economy, said a third of Yemen's population suffer from food shortages. He contiued that the reform of the economy depends on political reform and change.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, with a per-capita income of $1,300; almost half of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

0603 GMT: Attention to the case of Khader Adnan, the Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli jail, grows. On the 65th day of the fast, protesting Israel's practice of "administrative detention", the BBC posts an article.

See also Palestine Letter: Khader Adnan "Why I Am on Hunger Strike"

0550 GMT: In Syria, the regime siege and shelling of some areas continue --- sections of Homs are now enduring a 17th straight day. Deaths were lower this weekend than in recent days, although dozens still perished. There have been persistent but unconfirmed reports of a serious clash in Al-Atareb in Aleppo Province, after claims --- again unconfirmed --- that 18 soldiers who tried to defect were shot on Saturday.

The most striking images of the weekend, however, came from the capital. Saturday's funeral-turned-protest in Mezzeh in Damascus, with tens of thousands shouting their challenge, left an impression, only reinforced when security forces tried to shoot it out of existence. A massive security presence in Damascus on Sunday limited any further displays, but the message had been delivered at the centre of the Syrian regime.

The anti-regime rally in Douma, outside Damascus, last night: 

In Bahrain, the chant that "The People Decided to Go Back" to Pearl Roundabout/Martyrs Square continues. More than 60 people made the attempt on Saturday. Fewer tried on Sunday, but the news has mobilised protests in villages, such as this one in Sitra last night:

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