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Entries in Sakher El Materi (4)


Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Opposition's Military Commander is Assassinated

Also see our latest video entry: Latest Syria Videos: Friday's Protests Across the Country - Set 1 AND Set 2

2026 GMT: An important update from an activist in Sana'a, Yemen. Loud explosions could be heard coming from north of the city, presumably fresh government airstrikes against a base that was captured by opposition tribesmen yesterday. (see update at 0920)

1959 GMT: A huge Conservative Islamist rally took place in Alexandria, Egypt, as well. Members of the 6th April Group, a liberal pro-democracy organization, were reportedly harassed and left the crowd:

1948 GMT: An important eyewitness account from a Kurdish neighborhood of Damascus:

In the Damascus neighbourhood of Rukin Aden, home to the capital’s largest Kurdish community, an eye-witness told Al Jazeera there were several hundred protesters gathered around the Saad Basha Mosque, calling for the toppling of the regime.

Anti-riot police and secret police blocked off the neighbourhood's main streets, arresting dozens of protesters and driving them off in large buses.

Protesters also reported land lines and internet had been cut since the morning.

“After four months, we are demonstrating every night despite the big security crackdown on us,” Ammar, a 28-year-old protestor told Al Jazeera.

“About 200 pro-democracy advocates and protesters were arrested but this will not stop our uprising. The regime is trying hard to finish the uprising before Ramadan. We are preparing ourselves for the Ramadan and we will organise big evening demonstrations every day, especially Rukin Adeen which has well-known religious figures and big mosques.”

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Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: In Control?

2105 GMT: In Egypt, Al Masry Al Youm grasps the nettle on the recent wave of self-immolations: "Desperate Egyptians setting themselves on fire like their Tunisian counterparts are unlikely to spur wide-ranging protests, but they might serve to pressure the government into providing economic concessions ahead of a pivotal presidential election in September."

And there are two more cases to consider: a pair of workers at a textile factory in Menufia set themselves on fire to protest transfers to other sections.

2045 GMT: Back from a break to find that the Tunisian Cabinet has agreed to lift the ban on all political groups as well as granting an amnesty to all political prisoners.

The parties who can now freely operate include the al-Nadha movement, usually identified as "Islamist".

In other decisions, the Cabinet withdrew university police from campuses, stripped the former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally of all public assets, and separated senior government employees from the RCD.

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Tunisia LiveBlog: Watching Inside and Outside the Country

2205 GMT: Confusion tonight over reports that "foreign mercenaries" were captured by the Army after gun battles today (see 2035 GMT), with claims that they were Swedish tourists in Tunis, on a hunting trip for wild boar, who were beaten by a mob.

2120 GMT: The full State Department text of Hillary Clinton's discussion with the Tunisian Foreign Minister today (see 1800 GMT):

Secretary Clinton called Tunisian Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane today to express support for the people of Tunisia as they and their government go through a period of significant transition. She urged that the Government work to re-establish order in the country in a responsible manner as quickly as possible. She also underscored the importance of addressing popular concerns about the lack of civil liberties and economic opportunities, and the need to move forward with credible democratic elections.

She noted that the United States is encouraged by recent remarks by Prime Minister Ghannouchi and Interim President Mabazza indicating a willingness to work with Tunisians across the political spectrum and within civil society to build a truly representative government. Lastly, the Secretary offered the assistance of the United States in helping Tunisians to meet these challenges, and assured the Foreign Minister that the United States will stand with Tunisia as it moves forward to address them.

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Tunisia LiveBlog: Will Ben Ali's "Last Card" Be Trumped? 

2345 GMT: Al Arabiya reports that President Ben Ali's plane has landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2155 GMT: President Obama has issued a statement:

I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people. The United States stands with the entire international community in bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights that we must all uphold, and we will long remember the images of the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard. I urge all parties to maintain calm and avoid violence, and call on the Tunisian government to respect human rights, and to hold free and fair elections in the near future that reflect the true will and aspirations of the Tunisian people.

As I have said before, each nation gives life to the principle of democracy in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people, and those countries that respect the universal rights of their people are stronger and more successful than those that do not. I have no doubt that Tunisia's future will be brighter if it is guided by the voices of the Tunisian people.

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