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Citizens Speak Out. Governments across the world are being asked by their fellow citizens
for policies that create better living conditions, job opportunities, democracy and respect for
basic human rights as people protest in countries like Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory
Coast), Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
In Bahrain, where government forces backed by Saudi troops have been violently suppressing
the peaceful citizen attempts to call for reform, the country's top Shi’ite Muslim
cleric, Sheikh Isa Qasim, warned that such harsh actions are detrimental to both the
government and the nation, and would create only more complications in the future.
Oman's public prosecutor announced the release of 57 people who had been arrested in Sohar
during protests held by groups calling for the end of government corruption, pledging
an investigation into the death of one protester last Friday, April 1, although the number
of people still detained is unknown.
Thousands of Tunisians held new protests in Tunis on Friday to call for promised reforms
to be enacted. On Saturday, as around 50 unemployed citizens gathered in the city of Tozeur, asking
to speak to the governor regarding high rates of youth unemployment, security forces opened
fire, resulting in several injuries.
Yemen’s minority parties held a press conference on Saturday in which they presented a plan
to peacefully transfer power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Deputy Vice President
Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. This would allow for a restructuring of security forces with recognition
of the right of assembly, as well as forming a fully representative national transition
council with a committee to oversee new elections.
In Libya, government forces continued bombarding Misurata, the largest city aligned with pro-democracy
groups in the west of the country. Residents have also reported government forces sexually
assaulting women and forcing kidnapped men to appear on state television praising the
current regime. A medical doctor also reported that the weapons being used are intended to
cause deformation or crippling paralysis. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Abdul Ati
al-Obeidi stated during an exclusive interview with the UK's Channel 4 news that members
of the Libyan government are reaching out to officials in the UK, the USA and France
in an effort to halt the tragic loss of lives that began with peaceful calls for improved
rights and democracy. Acting as envoy for the government, Mr. al-Obeidi left Libya for
Greece on Sunday to bring a message from leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to Prime Minister
George Papandreou. Following their meeting, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas reported
that it appeared the Libyan regime was seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the
country. He also affirmed that the Greek side of the talks upheld the international community's
message to the Libyan government of a need to comply with all UN decisions, including
an immediate ceasefire and the halting of hostilities against civilians. Also on Sunday,
a Turkish cruise ship that had been converted to a hospital made a successful undercover
entry to the port of Misurata, where it picked up 250 injured citizens and 100 of their relatives
before traveling on to Benghazi, bringing 60 wounded onboard as well as 30 Turks and
other foreign nationals, with the vessel then departing to return to Turkey. Meanwhile,
the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that arrangements are being
made to deliver humanitarian assistance into the country.
As we mourn the loss of cherished lives, we pray for the turmoil and violence to end,
as people from all cultures and faiths decide to live together in shared safety, dignity