Tonight, the BBC’s Arabic language channel reports on the ongoing demonstrations throughout Syria which call for the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In a number of Syrian cities today, confrontations erupted between protestors and security forces leading to a number of deaths and injuries. Reports indicate that over 30,000 people participated in the day dubbed by Syrians as the “Day of Dignity.” The Syrian government tried to avoid the anticipated protests with an initiative that the government said would provide better services to citizens, guarantee better living conditions, and restore their freedom and dignity. Despite these efforts, protestors took to the streets chanting the familiar slogan, “The people want to topple the regime.”
In Libya, al-Jazeera reports that new countries have joined the international coalition forces, including the United Arab Emirates. Coalition warplanes continue their air strikes to prevent Gaddafi's brigades from advancing. The UAE has agreed to send 12 warplanes, including six F-16 fighters and six Mirage jets. In the past 24 hours, coalition forces carried out 130 raids. In Misurata, a medical source reported that 109 people were killed and nearly 1,300 others were injured in one week of battles.
Dubai TV reports that supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh held a protest rally to mark what they referred to as the “Day of Steadfastness and Loyalty.” Saleh called on his supporters to hold solidarity protests around the presidential palace while thousands of anti-regime protestors held massive rallies in Change Square, marking a day dubbed the “Friday of Departure.” This news comes a week after 52 people were reportedly killed when Yemeni security forces opened fire at protestors. In a speech to his supporters, Saleh described protest organizers as “adventurous conspirators and drug traffickers.” He also said that he doesn't want to hold onto power but will only hand it over to “honest and capable hands, not malicious or corrupt ones.”
Tonight, ANB interviews the secretary-general of the Progressive Democratic Forum, Dr. Hassan Madan, about the current situation in Bahrain. Dr. Hassan believes that the situation in Bahrain should have been dealt with peacefully by meeting the public’s demands for political and constitutional reform. He said that the intervention by Gulf nation forces has complicated the issue and created an even deeper divide in the country. He states, “We welcome the Gulf to play its role. But this role should be limited to a political one that helps bridge the gap between the opposition and the government, which hasn't been the case so far.”
Al-Alam also reports on Bahrain, as massive protests broke out in Daraz, Dayer, Samahij, and Beni Jamra.. Eyewitnesses say that in response, eyewitnesses say Bahraini security forces launched fierce attacks on protestors, firing tear gas and live ammunition. The authorities also closed down all health centers, and threatened to burn down protestors' homes and strip protestors of their Bahraini citizenship if they don't put an end to the protests and sit-ins. Bahraini opposition blocs called on the U.N. and other Islamic countries to intervene to stop the crackdowns and massacres that are being carried out by authorities.