March 27, 2011 / 3:06 PM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX-Protests in Middle East, North Africa

March 27 (Reuters) - Here are details of some of the rebellions, protests and rallies against authoritarian leaders which have deposed the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.

* LIBYA: Libyan rebels on Sunday took back control of the town of Bin Jawad, east of the capital Tripoli, and said they would push on towards leader Muammar Gaddafi’s stronghold of Sirte.

— On March 26, rebels won back the strategic town of Ajdabiyah. The rebels’ advance is a rapid reversal of two weeks of losses and suggests that Western air strikes are turning battlefield dynamics in their favour.

— Libya has tipped into a political vacuum since the uprising against Gaddafi began in mid February with initial protests in Benghazi.

* SYRIA - President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army for the first time in nearly two weeks of protests after 12 people were killed in the northwest port of Latakia on March 26.

— In the city of Deraa more than 55 people are believed to have been killed in a week of protests, Amnesty International said on March 25.

— In an attempt to placate protesters, Assad freed 260 prisoners on March 26, and 16 more on Sunday.

— He also made a rare public pledge to implement reforms, such as “studying” an end to emergency law and proposing draft laws that would grant greater freedoms in the media and the formation of political parties.

— Protesters did not seem to be mollified by the promises and in Deraa, called for the “downfall of the regime”.

— Syria has been under emergency law since the Baath Party, took power in 1963 and banned all opposition.

— On March 17 Human rights group Amnesty International condemned a violent crackdown by Syrian security forces against a peaceful protest held in Damascus by people calling for the release of political prisoners.

* YEMEN: — President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Sunday he had convened a meeting of his ruling party. The day before, he said he was ready to hand over power on condition that he could leave with dignity.

— Opposition parties have been talking with Saleh about a transition but have so far rebuffed any of his concessions.

— More than 80 people have been killed since protests started and the March 18 killings of 52 anti-government protesters by rooftop snipers in Sanaa prompted Saleh to declare a state of emergency. It also prompted top generals, ambassadors and some tribes to support Yemen’s anti-government protesters in a major blow to the president.

* BAHRAIN: — Bahrain’s largest Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq accepted Kuwait’s offer to mediate in talks with government to end a political crisis, a member of Wefaq said on Sunday.

— Bahrain’s king had thanked troops brought in from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbours to help quell weeks of protests by mainly Shi’ite Bahrainis calling for political reform.

— Bahrain arrested seven opposition leaders on March 17, a day after its forces moved in to end the pro-democracy protests. Bahraini forces backed by helicopters cleared protesters off the streets, including from the camp at Pearl roundabout that had become the symbol of an uprising by the Shi’ite Muslim majority. The military also banned all protests and imposed a curfew across a large swathe of Manama.

— At least three policemen and three protesters were killed in the clashes.

— Bahrain’s crown prince warned all sides on March 7 against escalating a standoff, asking for patience ahead of a national dialogue.

— Tensions turned to clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Bahrain on March 3, the first direct confrontation between the two communities since February’s large scale protests.

— Seven people were killed in clashes with security forces in last month’s protests when police tried to clear the Pearl roundabout, a busy traffic intersection in Manama’s financial district.

* JORDAN: A protester died after security forces broke up clashes on March 25 between supporters of King Abdullah and protesters calling for reform, and the government said it would not tolerate “chaos”. Jordan has seen weeks of protests calling for curbs on the king’s powers.

— The king has responded to the anti-government protests by sacking an unpopular prime minister last month and replacing him with Marouf al-Bakhit, a former intelligence general, in a step seen as dealing a blow to Islamist and liberal hopes for reform.

* SAUDI ARABIA: — Hundreds of Saudi Shi’ites staged a protest in the kingdom’s oil-producing Eastern Province on March 25 calling for prisoner releases and a withdrawal of Saudi forces from Bahrain, activists said.

— A Saudi human rights group said on March 23 authorities had arrested 100 protesters the week before, in the Shi’ite populated areas of Safwa, Qatif and its villages and Hasa. — Following a large police presence on the streets of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on March 11 almost no one turned up for a planned day of demonstrations.

— However, more than 200 protesters rallied in the city of Hofuf, which is close to the eastern Ghawar oil field and major refinery installations. The city has seen scattered protests by minority Shi’ites, who complain of discrimination at the hands of the country’s dominant Sunni majority.

— King Abdullah this month offered $93 billion in handouts and boosted his security and religious police forces but did not make concessions on political rights.

* OMAN: — Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has ruled Oman for 40 years, ordered a pay rise for civil servants and government pensioners, to try to calm protesters demanding better wages. Around 200 private sector workers staged a sit-in around government buildings in Oman’s capital on March 24, urging the Gulf Arab state’s ruler to ensure a pay rise that matches an increase for state employees.

— Protesters pressed for political and labour demands on March 15 across Oman, where a series of concessions from Qaboos have failed to bring unrest to an end.

* EGYPT: — Egypt’s new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, vowed on March 26 to press a fight against corruption, responding to public pressure to speed up investigations into alleged graft by allies of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

— He also defended a draft law banning strikes, denying criticism from human rights groups that it curtails freedom of expression and the right to protest. A day earlier more than 2,000 people gathered across Cairo to demand more political reform, including a speedy trial of Mubarak.

— A big majority of Egyptians had approved amendments to the constitution in a referendum, results showed on March 20, opening the door to early elections.

— Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11 following 18 days of mass protests centred around Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

* TUNISIA: — A Tunisian court ruled on March 9 that the party of former President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali would be dissolved, triggering street celebrations as one of the last vestiges of the ousted leader’s era was dismantled.

-- Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests on Jan. 14 after 23 years of autocratic rule and fled to Saudi Arabia. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;) For an interactive factbox on protests in the Middle East and Africa, click on For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit:

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