Dubai TV reports that rival protests have split Yemen on a day called the “Friday of Persistence” by the opposition, and the “Friday of dialogue” by the regime's loyalists. A group of prominent religious and tribal leaders have declared their support for the protest movement, including the chief of the Hashed Tribe of which Saleh is a member. The opposition has rejected the Gulf’s new proposal to attend mediation talks in Riyadh, because it omitted the article which called for the ouster of President Saleh. Instead, the new initiative calls for Saleh to transfer power to his deputy.
The “Syrian Revolution” Facebook page called on Syrians to take to the streets today in a demonstration that is also called the “Friday of Persistence.” The BBC reports that protests took place in Damascus, Deraa, Banias, Deir ez-Zor, Homs, al-Qamish, and Latakia. This comes a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced the formation of a new government and the release of hundreds of detainees. Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian security and intelligence institutions of torturing hundreds of protestors detained during demonstrations throughout the country.
A doctor in the western Libyan city of Misurata said that eight civilians, including children, were killed this morning in a missile attack by Gaddafi’s battalions. Residents say that about 120 missiles hit the besieged city. Al-Jazeera reports that Gaddafi’s forces are using Grad Rockets, which is a kind of rocket that lacks accuracy and causes wide-range destruction. While these kinds of rockets are usually only used in battlefields where there are no civilians, Gaddafi’s forces have been targeting densely populated areas like Misurata, turning the city into a “large graveyard,” where the death toll continues to rise.
Al Alam reports that Bahrainis in Manama are still trying to break through the intense checkpoints around Sulaimaniya Hospital in Manama to allow access to injured people. Meanwhile, Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of the detained Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, has been on a hunger strike for days and said the authorities are not allowing the families of the detained to contact them. She added that she has sent a letter to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, holding them responsible for the blatant human rights violations in Bahrain.
Tonight, al-Iraqiya features a report on the 1988 massacre in Halabja. What is known as the al-Anfal Campaign was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq led by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath regime. Al-Iraqiya’s report commemorates the anniversary of the massacre in which over 182,000 Kurds were killed and over 4,000 Iraqi villages were destroyed.