21 Feb 2011

Wave of protest reaches the streets of Morocco

9:30 am on 21 February 2011

The wave of protest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has reached the Moroccan capital, Rabat, where thousands have gathered to demand political reform.

Shouting "The people want change", they called on King Mohammed to give up some of his powers.

Police are reported to have kept their distance from the rally in front of the parliament building.

Demonstrators have also taken to the streets in Casablanca, Tangier and Marrakesh, and thousands of Moroccans have joined Facebook pages linked to the movement.


Meanwhile, the BBC reports, thousands of protesters are still gathered in the central square of the Bahraini capital, Manama.

Many have spent the night camped out in Pearl Square following the dramatic withdrawal of security forces.

They listened to speeches calling for a peaceful transition to democracy, after days of violence in which several people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes with the army.

King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has given his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the job of opening dialogue with the opposition, but opposition leaders say they are not prepared to hold talks until certain conditions are met.


In Yemen, anti-government demonstrations have continued for a ninth day, with at least one person dead and several injured.

In the latest violence, hundreds of protesters clashed with pro-government demonstrators at Sanaa University.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh is blaming the unrest on foreign agendas and a plot against Yemen's stability.


In nearby Iran, which is not an Arab country, police have fired tear gas at anti-government protesters in Tehran.

Gatherings have also been reported in the Iranian cities of Shiraz and Mashhad.