Cairo/Tripoli/Manama: One week after Hosni Mubarak was
forced out as Egypt president, the crowds Friday thronged Cairo's
Tahrir Square again as winds of change swept across the region
stirring unrest in Libya, where 45 people were killed in a
pro-democracy uprising, and also in Bahrain and Iran.
While Egypt marked a week without Mubarak, who had ruled for 30
uninterrupted years, clashes across Libya against Muammar
Gaddafi's four-decade regime claimed 45 lives and resentment
simmered in Bahrain where thousands attended the funerals of those
who had died in the military crackdown on sleeping protesters the
And in Iran, where two people were killed in when security forces
violently dispersed anti-government demonstrators, authorities
prepared to stage a counter protest against the two main
opposition leaders, according to information compiled from local
The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) --
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- held an
emergency meeting in Bahrain Thursday night to discuss
developments in the region, reports said.
The irresistible domino effect of the people's movement that
started with Tunisia and toppled the Egypt government has also
seen protests in Yemen, Jordan and Algeria.
It started in Tunisia and gained momentum in Egypt, where the
opposition youth movement called on people to stage a
million-strong demonstration in central Tahrir Square to mark a
week without Mubarak.
"The revolution has not been concluded yet. It will be concluded
after all demands have been met and the creation of a stable
democratic system has started," the April 6 Youth Movement, one of
the organisers of anti-government protests that swept Mubarak from
power, said in a statement.
DPA reported from Cairo that the demonstrators also plan to mourn
those who died during the nationwide protests that began in late
January. Authorities have put at 365 the number of people killed
during 18 days of protest that triggered clashes with police and
Hundreds of people spent the night in Tahrir Square, the focal
point of the uprising.
In neighbouring Libya, security forces and people braced for more
violence, after an estimated 45 people were killed in clashes
across the country on Thursday, the "Day of Anger" against Gaddafi
and his 41-year rule.
Online postings by opposition groups called for demonstrations
against the country's ruler to start after Friday prayers.
Videos posted online appeared to show the bodies of several young
men in different locations, and hundreds of demonstrators tearing
down a monument in honour of Gaddafi's Green Book in the eastern
coastal town of Tobruk.
In the Green Book, first published in 1975, Gaddafi outlines his
philosophy of direct democracy through popular committees. Critics
say that he actually uses those committees for political
Coverage of the unrest in the Libyan media has shown
pro-government demonstrators taking to the streets to proclaim
their support for the country's leaders, media reports said.
In Bahrain, where the US houses its 5th Fleet, thousands of people
gathered for the funerals of those killed in clashes between
demonstrators and police in Manama and planned for more protests
against the ruling family.
Mourners waved banners and shouted slogans against the government.
Some said they were ready to die for change, BBC reported.
Four people were killed early Thursday when police cracked down on
sleeping protesters in Manama, an action that led to a minister
A pro-government demonstration is also expected to be held, just
hours after Bahrain -- a constitutional monarchy where Prime
Minister Khalifa ibn Salman Al Khalifa has been in power since
1971 making him the longest serving unelected prime minister in
the world -- banned public gatherings.
Tanks have been stationed at strategic points around the streets
of Manama, a report said.
"There is going to be violence, there are going to be clashes," a
protester told BBC early Friday, ahead of the planned funerals.
Anger spiralled after Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
praised troops for their "bravery and readiness to assume their
"The reports from Bahrain overnight are deeply troubling, here as
elsewhere, violence should not be used against peaceful
demonstrators and against journalists," UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon told reporters.
In Iran, authorities prepared to stage a demonstration against
opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi for
allegedly undermining the Islamic system and collaborating with
In separate statements, Moussavi and Karroubi condemned the
suppression of Monday's protests and rejected the accusations of
links to foreign powers.