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Anger erupts in Tunisia's disenfranchised Sidi Bouzid, protestors in Cairo's Tahrir denounce Egypt's ruling junta, Pakistani demonstrators demand an immediate halt to US drone attacks, and more.
Euronews | Feb 1
Thousands of Egyptians have taken to Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi. Demonstrators have also carried the...
Anger erupts in Tunisia's disenfranchised Sidi Bouzid [Future TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Male # 1
The city of Sidi Bouzid that sparked the Tunisian revolution witnessed acts of violence after the Independent High Commission for the Elections announced the results of Sunday's Constituent Assembly election. And while the Tunisian army was forced to open fire to disperse protestors, the government imposed a night curfew in Sidi Bouzid. For his part, the leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, called for calm. He said his movement is committed to respect all international treaties.
Reporter, Female # 1
The Tunisians' hope in electing the first coalition government after the January 14 revolution dwindled after the leader of the Popular Manifesto for Freedom, Justice and Development, al-Hachmi al-Hamdi, announced the withdrawal of the 19 seats his party won in the National Constituent Assembly. Al-Hamdi confirmed his party officially withdrew from the political process that invalidated the voices of tens of thousands of Tunisians, especially in Sidi Bouzid, the city that triggered the Tunisian revolution. The city of Sidi Bouzid witnessed a demonstration in which over 1,000 protestors expressed their rage over previous statements made by Ennahda Secretary General Hamadi al-Jbeli. He had previously stated his rejection to forming an alliance with an electoral list headed by a Sidi Bouzid native living abroad. The participants chanted slogans condemning the Ennahda movement and its secretary-general, Hamadi al-Jbeli, including: "Oh Jbeli, you coward, the people of Sidi Bouzid cannot be insulted," and "Ennahda and the Muslim Brotherhood are America's agents." As soon as calm was somewhat restored, violent security disturbances erupted in the city last night due to the Independent High Commission for the Elections' announcement that six Popular Manifesto for Freedom, Justice and Development electoral lists were annulled. Participants in these disturbances burned the headquarters of the Islamist Ennahda movement in the city. They also set fire to the municipality building and a number of other government institutions. There were also clashes with security and army forces that heavily used tear gas to disperse the protestors. On the other hand, the Islamist Ennahda movement in Tunis accused the counterrevolution forces of being behind the security disturbances in the city. Ennahda considered the events to be disruptions to the democratic path, holding counterrevolutionary forces responsible. The movement expressed trust in the national security forces and army's ability to deal with attempts to disrupt the situation in the country before the elections' final results are announced. The head of the Independent High Commission for the Elections, Kamal al-Jandoubi, announced the annulment of six Popular Manifesto electoral lists. Al-Jandoubi's announcement was met with a storm of applause during the press conference that was held to announce the results of the elections won by Ennahda.
Protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square denounce Egypt's ruling junta [Press TV, Iran]
On to Egypt, where people have staged a protest rally in the capital Cairo's landmark Liberation Square against the country's military rulers. The protestors staged the rally following Friday prayers on what has been dubbed the "Friday of Common Demand." They are calling on the military junta to hand over power to a civilian government. They also want the lifting of the country's emergency laws and an end to military trials for civilians. The rally has been organized by 13 political parties and movements. Egypt's military council has come under heavy criticism for failing to quickly transfer power to a civilian authority. The Liberation Square has been the scene of weekly protests against the military council since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime earlier this year.
Pakistani demonstrators demand an immediate halt to US drone attacks [Press TV, Iran]
A grand tribal gathering in Jirga in Islamabad has called for the United Nations' intervention to stop US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas. These tribal elders traveled all the way from Pakistan's mountainous borderlands to the capital Islamabad. They joined heads with international human rights campaigners to evolve a strategy against the US assassination drone strikes in the tribal areas. In a day long tribal Jirga, fresh evidence was presented to expose the US claims that assassination drone strikes have only killed pro-Taliban militants. These horrific images speak volumes of heavy loss of life, injury and destruction caused by the CIA's campaign.
Bahrainis rally against al-Khalifa regime [Press TV, Iran]
In Bahrain, anti-regime protestors have once again taken to the streets of the Persian Gulf island calling for the downfall of the regime. Demonstrators in several cities around the capital Manama have come out to call for democracy and freedom. The protests were organized by several opposition groups from across the country. Activists say several protests have been attacked by Saudi-backed regime forces. Bahrain is in the midst of a revolution that began back in February.
Rival rallies in Yemen draw thousands [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Male # 1
In Yemen, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in al-Siteen Square in the capital Sanaa and 17 other cities on what they called the "Friday of victory comes only from God." They are demanding the downfall and prosecution of the Yemeni president's regime while the supporters of President Saleh gathered in al-Sabeen Square on their own Friday, which they called the "Friday of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz." On the other hand, opposition sources said Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullatif al- Zayani and the UN's special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Bin Omar, are arriving in Sanaa today to look into the implementation of the Gulf initiative.
Reporter, Male # 2
"Victory comes only from God." This is another Friday for Yemen's revolutionaries who are constantly escalating their mobilization with the goal of peacefully toppling President Saleh's regime. Hundreds of thousands gathered in al-Siteen Square in the capital Sanaa and other cities, tirelessly repeating the same slogans. In southern Sanaa, Saleh's supporters gathered as usual in al-Sabeen Square on their Friday, which they called the "Friday of Prince Sultan." They performed prayers for those absent and renewed their commitment to what they call constitutional legitimacy. The two gatherings, one for Saleh's supporters and the other for those revolting against him, coincided with reports of the arrival of the GCC and UN envoys to discuss the Gulf initiative. This initiative is rejected by the youth of the revolution because they believe it grants Saleh immunity from legal prosecution and does not meet their demands for freedom and dignity. As for the opposition Joint Meeting Parties, it harshly criticized the ruling party's willingness to implement the initiative, describing it as complicated and unacceptable. It also completely rejects any amendments to the initiative, not even one letter. The ruling Congress Party is calling for early presidential elections and the formation of a national unity government, which will take the oath in front of Saleh, not his deputy, a proposal rejected by the opposition. Friday after Friday, the youth of the revolution long for the day on which their revolution will move forward. Their revolution has been and remains peaceful despite the bloodshed in their squares. They say it is the toll of their freedom and the price of building their new Yemen.
Thirty killed in Syria as activists call for no-fly zone [BBC Arabic, UK]
Presenter, Female #1
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people were killed across various parts of the country. The Syrian opposition named today's protest the "no-fly zone Friday," demanding additional international pressure on the regime in Damascus. Protests broke out in the provinces of Homs, Daraa, Deir az-Zour, Idlib, Hama, and Aleppo, as well as in al-Qamishli, Amouda, and Damascus. Activists said the Syrian army and security forces stormed areas in the countryside of Damascus in pursuit of activists and to prevent the protests.
Reporter, Male #1
Demonstrations following Friday prayers were staged across various Syrian regions. Security forces fired live ammunition to disperse the protestors, especially in the areas of Homs and Hama, which have become confrontation hubs against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime as confirmed by rights groups and activists. For several weeks, the two provinces have been witnessing military operations by the Syrian army. As is the case on each Friday, Syrian opponents called for protests on Facebook under the slogan "no-fly zone Friday, shame and disgrace on those shelling our children from helicopters."
Guest, Male #2
The no-fly zone alone is not enough. They must send foreign observers and media outlets to show what's happening on the ground. They must take all necessary measures to prevent this regime from continuing to kill the people. Twenty six, and not 15, martyrs fell today.
Reporter, Male #1
The French news agency quoted the Syrian Coordination Committees saying Syrian army and security forces stormed this morning the areas of east Ghouta, Kufr Butna, Sukba, Hamouriyah, and Jisreen in the countryside of Damascus in pursuit of wanted activists and to prevent protests in the province. Homs, Hama, Baniyas, Deir az-Zour, Daraa, Aleppo, Damascus, al-Qamishli, Amouda, and Idlib also witnessed peaceful protests demanding the downfall of the regime, as confirmed by rights groups. In al-Rustan, which witnessed a massive security operation a few weeks ago, protestors staged rallies demanding the downfall of the regime. Many areas also witnessed nighttime protests calling for the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Today's protests were held under the slogan of "no-fly zone Friday," seen as the opposition's message to the international community to mount additional pressure on Damascus.
Guest, Male #3
We will continue to stage street protests, strikes, and civil disobedience. We will try to invent new methods of struggle but we will not resort to a military confrontation. So we urge the international community to intervene and mount pressure on the regime, economically and politically. They need to threaten the regime with violence if it doesn't stop the killing of civilians.
Reporter, Male #1
The French envoy to the UN Security Council announced on Thursday that the council's members will meet to discuss the possibility of drafting a resolution against Syria. This comes following the failed efforts at the UN caused by China and Russia's vetoes. The Chinese envoy to the Middle East, who visited Syria, said his country calls for implementing reform through dialogue and other peaceful methods. The Chinese envoy also called for respecting the people's will and the legitimate demands. He said all forms of violence must be halted to prevent bloodshed. Seven months have passed since the uprising erupted in Syria. More than 3,000 civilians have been killed, and the regime is still insisting that it is fighting armed terrorist groups to justify its incursions into cities to quell the protests. With the growing defections among the Syrian army and the eruption of armed clashes, the situation has become very dangerous, prompting those concerned for Syrian unity to warn against sparking a sectarian civil war in the country. Hayan Yaaqoub, BBC.
Iraqis hold anti-Baath protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square [Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq]
Presenter, Female #1
Dozens of Iraqi citizens held a rally today in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad to express support for government measures that include arrest campaigns targeting Saddam's Baath officials.
Reporter, Male #1
Like every Friday, protestors converged on Baghdad's Tahrir Square to express their opinions regarding the unfolding developments in the country. Today, the protestors expressed support for the government's measures, which include issuing legal orders and arresting leaders of the deposed Saddam's Baath party. The square witnessed a protest today in solidarity with this campaign.
Guest, Male #2 (Jabar Abdel al-Wahid, Protestor)
We demand the high judiciary council, the prime minister, and the Iraqi parliament speaker to execute the arrest warrants against members of the deposed tyrant and infidel Baath party, which has harassed and repressed us for 35 years, through the massive graves, Halabja, and the 1991 uprising.
Reporter, Male #1
The demonstrators called for the immediate arrest of all terrorists who seek to disturb the peace and security of the Iraqi people. They also raised slogans demanding the punishment of anyone supporting Saddam's Baath party, as cited by Article 7 of the Iraqi constitution, which bans any entity from participating or promoting Baathist ideals and symbols, regardless of the name that it adopts.
Guest, Male #3 (Milad al-Saedi, Student)
We plead to his Excellency the prime minister to order the arrest of anyone seeking to derail the political process. The derailment of the political process means the derailment of the Iraqi people because we are the ones who voted this government in office.
Reporter, Male #1
The protestors also called on Iraqi security forces to crush the Saddam Baathist conspiracy and arrest anyone plotting against the political process which was built by the Iraqi people. The protestors also praised the democratic process in the new Iraq, as stipulated in Article 3, paragraph 38 of the Iraqi constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and peaceful protests. From the Tahrir Square, the protestors expressed support for the Iraqi government's measures aimed at arresting leaders of the disposed Saddam's Baath party, who are desperately trying to reverse the political process. However, the Iraqi people and the concerned citizens of Iraq have stopped them. From Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Zaed al-Tai, Iraqiya.
Middle East analyst discuses Egypt-Israeli relations [IBA, Israel]
Joining me now in the studio to shed some light on the news on the day is Calev Ben-David, senior Israel correspondent for Bloomberg news. It is going to be a smorgasbord tonight because we have a lot to cover but let's start with Egypt-Israeli relations. After the Ilan Grapel and Gilad Shalit deals, is Egypt trying to repair its relationship with Israel, perhaps in an attempt to be a serious broker in the Middle East. Ben-David: Well, I'm not sure I would go far that far. There are some encouraging signs. We saw last week the renewal of the flow of natural gas into Israel from Egypt form this pipeline that has been attacked. But I think here it's a case, you know we have elections coming up in Egypt. Nobody knows what that new government is going to look like, and I think this present government run by the military wanted to basically get old business off the table before that new government came in.
Sudanese government takes austerity step to compensate for lost oil revenues [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Male #1
Khartoum has started implementing economic austerity measures that will last three years, under the framework of the tripartite program to rehabilitate the Sudanese economy in the post-secession period. The austerity program is being attributed to several factors, most notably the loss of southern oil revenues, which coincides with the fallout of the global economic crisis, in addition to the siege imposed on Sudan.
Reporter, Male #2
There have been major ramifications on the Sudanese economy over the past two years due to unilateral peace-related spending, as the situation continues to deteriorate with the loss of southern oil revenues. This has placed additional pressure on the Central Bank to meet the cost of imports of goods and food products in light of the steady rise of foreign currencies against the Sudanese pound.
Guest, Male #3 (Sihouri Issa, Sudanese Economist)
In my opinion, this has affected all foreign oil reserves held by the government. The problem started in 2009, with regards to peace-related spending, and it ended in a crisis after the loss of revenues since they are now being shared by two sates, with one in the south. Oil proceeds are no longer included in the budget.
Reporter, Male #2
The secession of the South has forced both countries to face economic challenges. The South, despite its control of oil proceeds, suffers from slow trade activity with North Sudan, which prompted sothern Sudanese Silva Kiir to visit Khartoum. However, the Sudanese government is betting on its steadfastness and ability to overcome its internal crisis as well as take part in dealing with the global economic crisis.
Guest, Male #3 (Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese President)
Our recommendations are not for lifting the Sudanese economy from the immediate crisis, but to research and find solutions for the suffering of the world after the failure of the capitalist system. We need to find an exit by returning to God, who will lead us out of this severe economic crisis. And we need to avoid charging interest because it is like fighting against God.
Reporter, Male #2
Launching agricultural investment projects, reducing government spending, and attracting foreign capital, especially from friendly countries, are new approaches proposed by the Sudanese government in a bid to close its budget gaps due to the loss of southern oil revenues. Sudan announced a new economic plan to combat the global economic crisis and the fallout of the secession of the South. The objective is to help create economic stability under the reign of the second republic of Sudan. Muhanad al-Hussein, al-Alam, Khartoum.
Presenter, Male #1
The Sudanese government unveiled that the country's average crude oil production has reached 11, 800 barrels per day since the separation with the South in July. The government said it will expand oil drilling next year. The secession led the southern state to take over most of the oil reserves in the country. Khartoum has lost most of its oil proceeds, which are its main source of revenue leading to a negative impact on the overall national economy.