April 27 (Reuters) - Here are details of some of the protests against governments in the Middle East and North Africa.
* SYRIA - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that at least 453 people have been killed during almost six weeks of pro-democracy protests in Syria.
— On April 21 President Bashar al-Assad lifted Syria’s 48-year state of emergency and abolished a hated state security court. A day later, security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad, killed at least 100 people when they fired at protesters.
— Assad spoke in public on March 30 for the first time since the unrest began. He said he supported reform but offered no commitment to change.
* LIBYA: NATO air strikes overnight forced Libyan government forces to pull back from positions in the city of Misrata but they resumed bombardment of the port area on Wednesday, a rebel spokesman said. Misrata, Libya’s third city, rose up with other towns against leader Muammar Gaddafi in mid-February.
— More than a month of air strikes in a British and French-led NATO mission to protect Libyan civilians have failed to dislodge Gaddafi or bring gains for anti-government rebels who hold much of east Libya. Gaddafi said on March 31 he would stay in the country “until the end”, a day after his Foreign Secretary Moussa Koussa defected and flew to Britain.
* YEMEN: — Thousands of Yemenis stepped up protests against a Gulf peace plan on Wednesday, blocking access to the Red Sea port of Hudaida, as Gulf mediators appeared close to sealing a deal for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to cede power. The peace deal could be finalised on May 1.
— Protests also broke out in the main southern city of Aden.
— An opposition coalition of Islamists, leftists and Arab nationalists on April 25 agreed to participate in a transitional national unity government, reversing their initial refusal.
— Saleh agreed on April 23 to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution.
— Around 130 people have been killed since protests started, including the March 18 killings of 52 anti-government protesters by rooftop snipers in Sanaa, which prompted Saleh to declare a state of emergency.
* EGYPT: — Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered on April 24 that ousted President Hosni Mubarak be transferred to a Cairo prison hospital pending a corruption and murder probe.
— More than 100,000 protesters had packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square on April 8 to press the ruling military council to meet demands including the prosecution of Mubarak, who was toppled on Feb. 11.
— Egypt will hold presidential elections after a parliamentary vote scheduled for September, a member of the ruling military council said on March 30.
* BAHRAIN: — Bahrain’s health ministry on April 26 sent to the prosecutor the names of 30 employees suspended following protests for “acts which appear to constitute crimes.”
— A day earlier Bahrain said it was seeking the death penalty for a group of protesters accused of killing two policemen during the demonstrations.
— At least 13 protesters and four police were killed during the clashes. — Bahrain’s crown prince said on April 7 he was committed to reform but warned there would be “no leniency” for those who tried to divide the kingdom.
— On March 16, Bahraini forces cleared protesters off the streets, including from the camp at Pearl roundabout in Manama that had become the symbol of an uprising by the Shi’ite Muslim majority.
* OMAN: — Some 3,000 protesters took to the streets after prayers on April 22 in Oman’s southern port of Salalah.
— Omani demonstrators have focused their demands on better wages, jobs and an end to graft.
— Sultan Qaboos bin Said promised a $2.6 billion spending package on April 17 after nearly two months of demonstrations inspired by popular uprisings across the Arab world. * TUNISIA: — Senior members of Tunisia’s former ruling party will be banned from a July 24 election and the vote will be run by an independent body for the first time, Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi said on April 27.
— President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests in a “Jasmine Revolution” on Jan. 14 after 23 years of autocratic rule. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)
(For an interactive factbox on protests in the Middle East and Africa, click on link.reuters.com/puk87r)
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