Middle East Protesters Stand Up to Tyranny

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From North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula thousands of protesters in countries like Libya, Bahrain and Yemen are risking their freedom and their lives trying to unseat reigning governments.

In Bahrain, the army now controls parts of the country's capital city of Manama. This after security forces raided a peaceful protests there.

At the heart of the crisis in Bahrain is a deep division between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The majority of the population is Shia while those who rule the nation are Sunni.

The Shiite population accuses the government of blocking them from key business, political and military jobs. Protesters want to topple the regime.

In Yemen, anti-government protesters took the streets chanting, "We want the government to step down!"

Similar to Egypt and Tunisia, protesters are angry about poverty and corruption.

The Yemeni government is an important U.S. ally in fighting al Qaeda and has promised some reform. Still, residents are demanding more.

Similar scenes are playing out in Libya, where activists are using social networking sites to rally support against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The 68-year-old Gaddafi has been in power since 1969.

Inspired by Egyptians, a growing number of Libyans have called for their leader to also go. At least 14 people have died in protests across several cities.

Hundreds of young Palestinians in Ramallah called for unity between the two main factions in the region.

The Islamist group Hamas currently controls the Gaza Strip where Fatah rules in the West Bank. The Hamas-Fatah rivalry has dated back to the early 90s.

Palestinians are calling for the two groups to come together under one government.

Originally published Feb. 18, 2011.

 

 

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