Econintersect: Political unrest continued across North Africa and the middle east this weekend. In Bahrain tens of thousands of opposition demonstrators tried to disrupt a cabinet meeting Sunday. The demonstrators seek reforms from the ruling Al-Khalifa family. On Friday, more than 100,000 protesters gathered in the Bahraini capital and large demonstrations continued on Saturday.The official government news releases in Libya claimed that forces fighting in support of Muammar Gaddafi had retaken large areas of the country. Television news broadcasts seen Sunday by GEI reported that many of the areas claimed recaptured had not seen any Gaddafi forces or any conflict.
Photo of Libyan rebels from The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast reported (Babak Dehghanpisheh, on the ground in Tripoli) that government claims are clearly false and that fighting continues to rage near Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte. “The showdown for Ghadafi’s hometown could, both symbolically and militarily, be a turning point in the Libyan revolution.” (Quote is from The Daily Beast.)
Demonstrations continued in Egypt as once-feared interior minister, Habib el-Adly, pleaded not guilty Saturday to corruption charges in the first of an expected series of speedy, high-profile cases against ministers ousted with former President Hosni Mubarak. From The New York Times:
“That did not happen,” Mr. Adly calmly said twice when the judge asked whether he had profited illegally from his office and laundered money; the charges involve a total of about $1.6 million.
Dressed in a white prison uniform with a white cap on his head, Mr. Adly stood in the heavy metal cage that serves as the docket in Egyptian courts. It was an extraordinary sight in a country where Mr. Adly, until his Feb. 17 arrest, had controlled all police forces since he became interior minister in 1997.
As if to underscore the change, hundreds of protesters in Cairo stormed a headquarters of the state security police, a hated organization that Mr. Adly used to run. Protesters also took over or massed outside other security compounds around the country, with one center in Alexandria going up in flames Friday night. Disbanding the state security police is a central public demand.