News from around the globe impacting your world.
Clashes in Tahir Square. The Egyptian military and police stormed Cairo's Tahir Square to remove protesters who were demanding the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and the removal of Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi as interim head of state in a pre-dawn raid. Al Jazeera reports that at least one person was killed with scores injured. The violence came after a huge protest drew thousands in the square on Friday. Yolande Knell of the BBC filed this report:
This is the latest worrying sign of tensions between the ruling military and supporters of the 25 January revolution who are becoming increasingly impatient with the pace of change.
There is growing anger that remnants of the former government, including the ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family, have not been charged with corruption. Some blame the former Defence Minister, Field Marshal Tantawi, who is head of the Supreme Military Council. He was very close to Mr Mubarak.
Reports that the army has arrested and tortured demonstrators that have circulated in recent weeks and the fact that military trials continue add to the mistrust.
The armed forces insist they were simply enforcing a curfew when they moved into Tahrir Square overnight and that they are meeting their promises of reforms and justice.
Protests in Syria Leave 37 Dead. A Syrian rights group said on Saturday that state security forces orces killed at least 37 people during Friday's demonstrations in cities across the country. The National Organization for Human Rights said in a statement that 30 people were killed in the southern city of Deraa, the epicenter of protests. Another three people were killed in the central city of Homs and three others in Harasta, a Damascus suburb, as well as one in Douma. This makes Friday the deadliest day since protests erupted against the iron-fisted dynastic rule of Bashir al-Assad three weeks ago. Syrian activists are now calling for daily protests against the regime. More from Haaretz.
More Protests, More Deaths in Yemen. More clashes erupted in Yemen especially in the flashpoint city of Taez. Agence France Press reports that thousands of protesters massed in Al-Hurriya (Liberty) Square in Taez, south of Sanaa, calling for those behind the deadly shooting of protesters to be held to account and for President Saleh to go. As many as 100,000 people marched. Medics said Yemeni security forces shot dead four protesters and wounded 116 in the flashpoint city in clashes that erupted on Friday and carried on into the next morning. On the regional scene, Yemen recalled its ambassador to Qatar, state news agency Saba announced, after a call from the Gulf state for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
A Dry March Leaves Fear of a Drought in Southern Britain. Southern England and Wales have had their driest March since 1961, with each area having only a quarter of the expected rainfall. The driest region, East Anglia, had only 15 per cent of its normal precipitation in its driest March since 1929, and the second-driest since records began in 1910. Water UK, the umbrella body for the water companies in England and Wales, says there is "currently no concern about water supplies, but we are keeping an eye on things after what was a very dry March". Britain last rationed water in 1976. More from The Independent.
Elections in Djibouti. Djibouti's president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, garnered 80.58 percent of votes cast in the country's elections on Friday, according to provisional results out today. The result would give him a third term in power in the small strategically located Red Sea state, where the opposition initially boycotted the ballot and tried to start Egyptian-style protests in February. The interior Minister, Yacin Elmi Bouh, said that Guelleh's rival, Mohamed Warsama, got 19.42 percent of votes cast in the election, which had a 69.68 percent turnout, according to Reuters. Just over 152,000 people are registered to vote in the small Red Sea state which has the only US military base in Africa and the largest French army camp on the continent. There are approximately 2,200 US troops stationed in Djibouti and the Pentagon hopes to locate the headquarters of AFRICOM there. Human Rights Watch said that the US-funded Democracy International election monitoring organisation was expelled from Djibouti in March. The government said the body had failed to maintain its neutrality in the run-up to the vote.
Bombs Mar Nigeria's Legislative Elections. Nigerians finally went to vote in most areas in the twice-delayed National Assembly elections on Saturday, but the exercise was marred by bombings and violence in at least three states. In one incident, up to 25 people were reportedly killed. Bombings were reported in the northern states of Bauchi, Kaduna and Niger, areas where Christian-Muslim tensions have long simmered. A full round on Nigeria's elections from All Africa.
More Atrocities Reported in the Côte d'Ivoire. Ivoirians who have fled across the border to Liberia have reported incidents of rape, sexual abuse and murder to NGOs and human rights groups working in Grand Geddeh and Nimba counties. Children in villages in Liberia's Nimba County have told field workers at NGO Equip that they were forced to watch as their mothers were raped and then killed. In several cases, the children themselves were then sexually assaulted. A woman told Equip staff she was forced to watch while armed men raped her four-year-old daughter. Most attacks have taken place outside villages as people tried to flee, or at checkpoints, refugees said. Refugees say sexual assaults have been committed by both armed supporters of Laurent Gbagbo and of Alassane Ouattara, as well as militia members at checkpoints, and to a lesser extent, opportunists who have preyed on refugees' vulnerability. Last week, at least 800 people were reportedly killed in inter-communal violence in the western part of the country, as rival forces continue to battle for Abidjan, the country's largest city and commercial capital. There are new reports that hundreds more have been killed in fighting on the outskirts of Abidjan. Gbagbo, who disputed Ouattara’s internationally recognized victory in the Nov. 28 presidential election, remains in a bunker with his family and senior aides but has used a lull in the fighting to mount a counter-offensive against the Republican Army of Alassane Ouattara. According to the BBC, Gbagbo forces launched two mortars and a rocket at the residence of the French ambassador in Abidjan yesterday prompting French helicopter gunships to respond.