As the popular uprising in Egypt draws to a successful conclusion, several other Arab nations appear poised to become the next hotbeds of anti-regime demonstrations in the region.
Yesterday, thousands took to the street in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, to protest the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, clashing with local security forces who tried to disperse them.
The protest in Algeria appeared to have lost some of its steam in recent days, but following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Friday, demonstrators gathered once again in the streets, demanding economic measures to combat high levels of unemployment, poverty and poor housing. In response, the regime in Algeria has restricted civil liberties and the country is being run like a dictatorship.
Like the demonstrations in Cairo, those in Algiers are being organized through the Internet and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Demonstrators in Algiers gathered yesterday at the May 1 Square and called for the ousting of Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999. Their request to hold a procession in the city was denied by authorities.
A statement by the Algerian Interior Ministry said that only 250 protestors took part in the demonstration and that 40 had been arrested. But participants and their organizers insisted that at least 70 people had been arrested.
Riots also broke out in Yemen yesterday, with members of the opposition demanding the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has held power for 32 years. The demonstrations were initially meant to be a show of solidarity with the revolution in Egypt but gradually evolved into a local protest.
The demonstrations in Yemen are being led by the Islamist-leaning opposition, which has been bringing demonstrators out every Thursday as part of its struggle against the regime. The demonstration yesterday was relatively modest.
Demonstrations are also scheduled to take place tomorrow against the regimes in Bahrain and Iran. The Bahraini ruler announced yesterday a special payment of $2,650 to each Bahraini family, a measure designed to counter opposition demands. Several human rights groups in Iran have reported that the Islamist regime there has embarked on mass arrests of its opponents and ordered that two leaders of the opposition, Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, remain under house arrest.
Karrubi's family has reported that Iranian security forces are preventing even them from visiting him in his home.
Calls made by the Iranian opposition over the Internet urging supporters to take to the streets in support of the Egyptian revolution, have garnered thousands of responses from supporter.
The regime has already said it will not permit demonstrations by the opposition, even though President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were motivated by the Iranian Revolution which took place 32 years ago.
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