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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 02/17/11: World News From The Middle East [VIDEO]

25 injured in fresh Yemen clashes

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Female #1
At least 25 people were injured in clashes between pro- and anti-President Ali Abdullah Saleh protestors. The thousands of protesters who came out of the University of Sana'a demanding to topple the ruling regime were met with supporters of the ruling party. An al-Jazeera cameraman was assaulted while covering the pro-Yemeni president protest.

Reporter, Male #1
The scene is repeated on a daily basis. As soon as protestors take to the street demanding to topple the regime, supporters of the government confront them with sticks, stones and batons. Then the battle begins. Today's battle resulted in a number of injuries. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it opened fire in the air after it was unable to stop clashes between the two sides. Journalists also had their share of confrontations. The Yemeni president, who has been intensively meeting with tribal leaders, representatives of social strata and political figures, said that the time of coups has ended.

Guest, Male #1 (Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni President)
The time of coups and chaos is over; whoever wants to take power must do so through ballot boxes, not through chaos in the streets. We're tired of holding power; no one wants to be in charge. Power is a temptation, not a benefit.

Reporter, Male #1
The Yemeni Scientists' Association proposed a solution to end the current political crisis.

Guest, Male #2
We agreed to hold fair and free elections; we agreed to form a government of national unity. This will bring us out of the bottle neck. It is not allowed for police officers to beat people expressing their opinion, be it with sticks, rubber bullets or live bullets. It's a shame! A collective expression of opinion should not turn into chaos.

Reporter, Male #1
Regardless of the differences between Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt, many people are still concerned about the high price for change and say chaos could lead to disaster. But others believe that a new era is being formed right now. Mohamed Shalaf, Aljazeera, Sana'a.

6 killed 16 missing after police storm Bahrain's Pearl Roundabout

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Male #1
Events are developing rapidly in Bahrain. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged Bahraini authorities to show restraint in dealing with the recent protests in the capital. In its first statement, the Bahraini army warned the protesters of gathering in the capital Manama, stating it disrupts the public and exposes people to danger. The army deployed units in a number of neighborhoods in Manama. This is the first time in Bahrain’s history that the army has been deployed on the streets of Manama.

Guest, Male #1
The general commander of the Bahraini defense forces announced that military troops from the Bahraini defense forces have been deployed in the capital and will take all necessary measures to safeguard the security of citizens and protect their freedom and properties from violence. The general commander of the Bahraini defense forces also stressed that severe preventative measures will be taken to ensure security and public order and assure the stability of the nation. The general commander of the Bahraini defense forces also urged all citizens to avoid gathering in the capital's central areas as it causes traffic congestion and incites fear and panic. It also leads to more traffic accidents, disrupting the daily lives of citizens and subjecting them to danger. May peace be upon you, as well as God's mercy and blessing.

Reporter, Male #1
The protestors spent their first night in Pearl Square as if they were having a fun night out. Perhaps they did not expect the square to quickly turn into a vicious battlefield. After a large number of riot police surrounded the protestors, pandemonium ensued and groups of protestors began leaving the square. Subsequently, security forces began assaulting the protestors by firing tear-gas, opening fire in the air to disperse them, and dismantling their tents. Eyewitnesses said that shrieking sirens and thunderous explosions could be heard hundreds of meters away. All entrances to the square have been blocked.

Guest Male #1
The traffic was stopped; they were shoving the protestors around, beating them, and opening fire. They attacked the protestors from all directions even while some of them were still sleeping.

Reporter, Male #1
The Bahraini government has not commented on these incidents. Meanwhile, the White House called on the Bahraini authorities to respect their citizens' right to peaceful demonstration. But that was exactly what brought down the regime in Egypt. So will the events in Bahrain follow the same course? Or will Manama respond to the protestors' demand for political reform? Hiseen Khalaf, BBC.

Presenter, Male #1
A member of the National Human Rights Organization, Bahrain’s highest-level government human rights group, submitted his resignation from the organization in protest to the human rights situation in the country. The Bahraini Doctors’ Union organized a sit-in rally for the doctors in Salmaniya Medical Complex. The Union said that the government has banned the medical crew from sending ambulances to aid injured protestors. Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Bahrain Harmony Society, Sheikh Ali Salman, confirmed the resignation of all members of his bloc from parliament to protest the Bahraini authorities' tactics in dealing with the protestors and their demands. The Harmony Society is the largest Shiite opposition bloc in the Bahraini parliament. In an interview with BBC, Sheikh Ali Salman rejected the security authority's request to evacuate protestors from Pearl Square, and urged the Bahraini government to resign.

Bahrain's Wefaq party to resign in protest of police brutality in Manama

Press TV, Iran
Bahrain’s largest Shiite opposition bloc intends to quit parliament to protest security forces killing anti-government protestors in the capital in Manama. Wafeq party lawmaker says all members of the bloc are going to resign. The move comes to protest what they call the 'real terrorism'.

4 anti-government protestors killed ahead of Libya’s "Day of Rage"

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
Four people were reportedly killed and 38 others injured in clashes that erupted yesterday between anti-government protestors, and security forces and members of the 'Revolutionary Committees.' The clashes erupted in al-Baida and Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. Meanwhile, several pro-regime groups marched through Libya’s capital, Tripoli, carrying pictures of President Muammar Qaddafi. Libyan authorities released 110 political prisoners affiliated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, raising the number of newly freed prisoners to 360. The U.S. urged Libya to meet the objectives of its people, as stated by State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley. Crowley said that countries across the region face the same kind of challenges in terms of demographics, popular objectives, and a need for reform. Joining us by phone from Benghazi is writer and political analyst, Mr. Ramadan Jarbu'. Mr. Ramadan, there were calls for more protests today in Libya. How is the situation there?

Guest, Male #1, Ramadan Jarbu', a writer in political analyst
It was relatively calm in the morning. Having said that, this doesn't mean the situation will remain unchanged, as developments may occur in the afternoon or evening.

Presenter, Female #1, back
Have there been any official reactions to yesterday’s events and the days prior? Have you heard any news about whether the Libyan authorities are planning to issue an official statement today?

Guest, Male #1, Ramadan Jarbu', a writer in political analyst
State-run media is talking about the security situation in general. They have not issued a specific statement regarding the ongoing protests. Any acts of violence, including the quelling of protests, will not resolve the problem or ease tension witnessed in the country. These protests are being led by groups of youths with specific demands and grievances. The protestors are calling for the reactivation of the country's inconsistent reform program as well as freedom of expression and opinion. Staging peaceful protests is a form of freedom of expression. Therefore, the government must allow it. By the same token, people have the right to stage counter-protests as long as they are peaceful. All this should be done within the framework of civil society organizations, which will in turn, convey people's demands to the appropriate authorities.

Egypt plans 'march of a million' to honor martyrs and press demands

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Female #1
Egypt's January 25 revolutionaries are calling for a march of a million on Friday in Tahrir, or Liberation Square in the center of Cairo. The youth issued a statement saying the demonstration is being organized to honor the martyrs of the revolution and assert their commitment to the rest of their demands.

Reporter, Female #2
In order to assert their resolve to attain the revolution's remaining demands and to honor its martyrs, the youth of the January 25 revolution called for a demonstration of a million on Friday in Tahrir Square, the symbol of the popular protest movement that toppled Mubarak. The youth want to announce that their revolution will continue until all their demands are met. These demands include ending the emergency law, releasing political prisoners, and forming a transitional government of technocrats within one month. The youth have put forward candidates to head the government and are demanding authorities be held responsible for the deaths of 365 civilians throughout the revolution. Last but not least, their top priority is their demand for constitutional amendments. According to the responsible committee, this demand must be met within 10 days and the proposed changes will be submitted to voters through a referendum within two months.
In addition, they are requesting a timeframe for implementing these demands be set.

Guest, Male # 1
We started on January 25th with a one slogan raised by all Egyptians who took to the street, and this slogan was "the people want to topple the regime." This slogan is still incomplete. On Friday we will celebrate the life of the martyrs and immortalize the memory of their souls. The second demand was "the people want to topple the government" and the third "the revolution is not over, will not die, and will not be suppressed". Rather, it continues and will remain until all of the Egyptian people's demands are met.

Reporter, Female #2
Despite the military council's warning that continued protests will have a negative impact on the country, a number of government councils in the Nile Delta, Suez Canal, Cairo and Alexandria, in addition to the provinces of Asyut and Sohag demonstrated and went on strike. Strikers are demanding pay raises and better working conditions. It seems that the popular revolution will not retreat before it accomplishes the goal for which millions of Egyptian demonstrators took to the street.

Presenter, Female #1
Conflicting news reports on the location of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his health situation continue to circulate, especially after an online rumor emerged that he had died. Sources revealed that he is taking calls from his home in Sharm el-Sheikh, while other sources indicate that he went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. A Saudi official said Mubarak had given up and wants to die in the Sharm el-Sheikh resort. On the other hand, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that he moved to the city of Eilat, in southern occupied Palestine, to rest after all the pressure he endured.

Egyptian political prisons escape in thousands

New TV, Lebanon
Presenter, Male #1
Egyptian police officers and security forces are organizing their own revolution. A real life ‘Great Escape’ was staged by dozens of political prisoners in Cairo. My colleague Mona Ashmawi reports.

Reporter, Female #1
'The Great Escape' is the title of a movie that has turned into reality. Its protagonists are members of the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Its plot involves opening seven prisons across Egypt, enabling the escape of some of the most infamous prisoners across Egypt and the Arab world. The role of security officers and the Interior Ministry will never be forgotten by the revolution's millions of participants. Eyewitnesses confirm that police officers are responsible for opening the prison doors. But others assert that prisoners rioted at police departments after water and electricity were cut off, leading to the deaths of some police officers.

Guest, Male #1 (Mohamed Hashim, defense lawyer in the case of Hezbollah cell)
Unfortunately, the national security apparatus in Egypt was terrible; we used to call Zoghly the master of torture. In order to enable the Egyptian government to recover Sami Chehab and prosecute him, it must take specific legal action. First, it needs to guarantee that he is put on trial in a normal court, one that is not exceptional. The court needs to present evidence implicating Sami Chehab in the crime. This needs to be done for peace in Egypt. And the court needs to present these facts to the Lebanese government to demand it to hand over Chehab. But we can’t return to the same old system of using the state security court.

Guest, Male #1
International protocol needs to be met before the process of getting him back begins. Sami Chehab was convicted in an exceptional court, so no country, including Lebanon, is legally required to hand him over to Egypt.

Reporter, Female #1
Prisoners escaped from jail; hundreds were martyred; thousands were injured. Can this chapter be put to rest so life can return to normal? That's an important question.

Guest, Male #2 (Samih Saif al-Yazn, former major-general of intelligence)
23,500 prisoners escaped from the seven prisons. In six prisons, the escapes occurred during protests; in the seventh, they occurred only two days ago. These prisoners were militants and nearly 11,000 have been captured. Unfortunately, more than 12,000 prisoners are still at large. They have weapons, which of course creates a dangerous security situation. There are prisoners convicted of political crimes or espionage, such as Sami Chehab. Also, some Hamas members who escaped, or rather were lead out of prison, are now in Gaza.

Reporter, Female #1
Will you seek to reclaim them and return them to prison or has the Interior Ministry washed its hands of them?

Guest, Male #2
No, of course through diplomatic means and international legal methods they will be captured, and we'll request that officials return the prisoners so that they may serve their sentences. They must comply. But, should the investigation continue? That is another issue. As for Shantalaf Mustafa, I assure you that he is still in Mantura. It has been confirmed that he is still in prison and hasn't escaped. Mantura was not attacked and no one escaped from the prison that Shantalaf Mustafa is in.

Guest, Male #1
There is no legal means to hand over the detainees. They were arrested as a result of a decision made by a political administration. There were no charges made against them.

Reporter, Female #1
What about the political detainees?

Guest, Male #1
They will not come back. They already left. No charges were made against them. They were detained on the basis of a decision issued by the interior minister.

Reporter, Female #1
Mohamed is a college student and an eyewitness. A rubber bullet hit his eye, leading to complete blindness. He is not even 20 years old.

Guest, Male #3
I think it would difficult to accept the return of police officers to the street and deal normally with civilians. I personally believe they need psychological rehabilitation before returning.

Reporter, Female #1
Will you let go of your rights?

Guest, Male #3
No, of course I won’t.

Reporter, Female #1
How are you working on gaining your rights?

Guest, Male #3
I submitted a report at the Attorney General against former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, and I don't know what will result from it. I don't know who to ask for my rights. We had nothing and they were firing live bullets. By God, we went in thinking we would be martyred. I saw young people dying next to me without even a whimper. I would just look and see them falling.

Reporter, Female #1
Mona Ashmawi, New TV, from Cairo.

Palestinian youth demand unity Ramallah protest rally

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Male #1
Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets of Ramallah, calling for an end to internal Palestinian division. The protestors called on all sides to preserve Palestinian national interests and achieve unity. They also called on Fatah and Hamas to reconcile their differences. Many of the protestors chanted slogans denouncing the U.S. and its support of Israeli settlement construction. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmud Abass announced that elections will be held next September. However, many Palestinians believe that the division may impede the process.

Guest, Female #1, Eman Erikat, BBC correspondent in Ramallah
Hundreds of Palestinians have taken to the streets of Ramallah to show solidarity for national unity. The protestors are calling for an end to Palestinian internal division. The demonstration, which started as a massive sit-in, was organized by various Palestinian national factions, civil society organizations, and youth groups. Organizers have been calling for today's rally since the beginning of this week.

3 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli soldiers after attempted terror attack

IBA, Israel
3 Palestinians were reportedly shot and killed by IDF soldiers earlier this morning near the border with Gaza. An IDF spokesperson confirmed that the troops opened fire on the man spotted attempting to plant explosives along the security fence. Residents of northern Gaza said they heard gunfire and helicopters during the night but no Palestinian group has yet claimed responsibility for the attempted terror attack.


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