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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live: The Protests, the Opposition, and the Grand Prix

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1540 GMT: Egypt

Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki has offered his resignation, a day after President Morsi had stated there would be a government reshuffle and two days after thousands of Islamist demonstrators calling for the "purging of the judiciary"

According to judicial sources, Mekki complained about the demonstrations in his resignation statement. He also condemned attempts, led by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party to amend the judicial authority law to decrease the retirement age of judges without taking their view on the issue.

The amendment would mean the forced retirement of more than 3,000 judges.

1340 GMT: Bahrain

Footage of police seizing a young man in Sanabis on Saturday:

1115 GMT: Iraq

Election officials have begun counting votes in provincial elections.

Attacks killed three people during polling on Saturday.

Turnout was about 51%, according to officials from the Independent High Electoral Commission.


The Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix is run today, amid some tension but less visible  protests and clashes than last year.

While some opposition factions, such as the February 14 Coalition, have pressed for marches, the reticence of other groups --- including the leading opposition society Al Wefaq --- to link protest to the Grand Prix has limited the public challenge.

In contrast to last year, Al Wefaq is now inside a "National Dialogue" with the regime, the Government, and other activist groups, including those from the largely-Sunni communites who control most of the key positions in the Kingdom. While the Dialogue is moving slowly --- if at all --- after 11 rounds of talks, the process may have distanced Al Wefaq from protests in the villages.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday, Crown Prince Salman --- portrayed as a "moderate" within the regime --- supported the Dialogue while pointing to the lack of progress: "I wish they were going faster. But I'm hopeful. They are happening. That is the important thing. All sides get a chance to air their grievances and that is very key."

An Al Wefaq spokesman continued to press for the direct involvement of the monarchy in the talks, "There is a serious need to involve the ruling family with the dialogue process in a serious way", as well as steps like "releasing political prisoners" and "stopping the intimidation of media".

The Crown Prince, however, kept his distance:

If I attend talks and (they) fail as it did in 2011, the costs are extremely high. I can't speak for different political groups or different political views that are present at the table.

So there is a time and a place for me to step in. It is not yet there.

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