A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in five Arab countries on Saturday.
The embattled Libyan regime passes out guns to civilian supporters, sets up checkpoints and sends armed patrols roving the terrorized capital Tripoli to try to maintain control of Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold. Residents of its eastern Tajoura district set up makeshift barricades to prevent the SUVs filled with young men wielding automatic weapons from entering their neighborhood. In New York, the U.N. Security Council begins urgent deliberations to consider imposing sanctions to punish Libya for violent attacks on protesters.
An Egyptian panel tasked with amending the constitution recommends easing restrictions on who can run for president and imposing presidential term limits. These were two key demands of the popular uprising that pushed President Hosni Mubarak from power earlier this month. The panel also says emergency laws need to be approved in a referendum if they remain in place longer than six months. Mubarak ruled for 30 years with such laws which grant the police sweeping powers and severely restrict personal freedoms. The panel was appointed by Egypt's military rulers.
Yemen's embattled president suffered back-to-back blows: several hundreds of thousand call for his ouster in the largest anti-government rallies yet and two powerful chiefs from his own tribe abandon him. The huge turnout in towns and cities across Yemen and the defection of the tribal chiefs are the latest sign that President Ali Abdullah Saleh may be losing his grip on power.
A prominent Bahraini opposition leader returns from exile and demands that the kingdom's rulers back up reform promises with action. The return of Hassan Mushaima, a senior Shiite figure, could mark a new phase for the anti-government movement. He is considered more hardline than the main Shiite bloc that has helped drive two weeks of protests. Thousands of demonstrators march on government buildings in the capital.
Hundreds rally in the capital of Algiers, demanding the ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with police out in far larger numbers. The protest on central Martyrs Square comes two days after the government ended a 19-year state of emergency. The restrictive measure was put in place in 1992 as Algeria embarked on an era of violence that ballooned into a deadly Islamist insurgency.
U.S. President Barack Obama praises the end of the state of emergency as a step toward responding to public concerns.
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