- - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

YEMEN

President’s tribe clashes with army

SANAA | Tribesmen loyal to Yemen’s embattled president clashed Tuesday with a group of soldiers whose commander has sided with the opposition, and the fighting in a suburb of the capital, Sanaa, left three tribesmen dead, according to tribal elders and military officials.

It was the latest violence in weeks of turmoil in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s military and police forces have cracked down on protesters demanding that he step down after 32 years in power.

The clash erupted as a convoy of about 30 cars with armed tribesmen from Mr. Saleh’s Sanhan tribe arrived at the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division in western Sanaa to meet with its commander, Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who earlier had joined the opposition.

Tribal members and army officers at the scene said Gen. al-Ahmar, who also hails from Mr. Saleh’s tribe, met a tribal chief, Ismail Abu Hurriya, who tried to persuade the renegade commander to return to the president’s camp.

LEBANON

Security storms prison after riot, fire

BEIRUT | Lebanese security forces stormed Lebanon’s largest prison Tuesday and freed three hostages, after several hundred inmates demanding better conditions set a fire inside one of the buildings, a Lebanese security official said.

Inmates of the overcrowded Roumieh prison east of Beirut had been rioting for days, burning mattresses and breaking windows.

On Tuesday, prisoners took three guards hostage in one of the buildings.

In another building, prisoners set fire to highly flammable material in the kitchen, triggering a blaze. Thick black smoke billowed from the hilltop compound for several hours despite heavy rain.

Relatives of prisoners outside the prison threw stones at police as they brought reinforcements to the prison.

BAHRAIN

Bahrain deports reporters of opposition paper

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates | Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition’s main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government has accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.

The deported journalists are both Iraqi. Their colleagues told the Associated Press that they have been working for Al Wasat - Bahrain’s most popular newspaper - since 2005.

Bahrain has sharply tightened Internet and media controls under the military rule imposed last month after weeks of protests by the tiny Gulf island kingdom’s Shiite majority.

SYRIA

Activists call for more protests

BEIRUT, Lebanon| Syrian activists called for a new wave of demonstrations Tuesday to honor more than 80 people killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted nearly three weeks ago.

“The Syrian Revolution 2011” Facebook page called for protests across the country Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, calling it “Martyrs Week.” By Tuesday, the page had more than 105,000 fans.

President Bashar Assad has made a series of gestures toward reform in response to the growing cries for change, including sacking his Cabinet and promising to set up committees to look into reform. But protesters say the moves do not satisfy their demands for real change in one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.

OMAN

Protesters charged with making weapons

MUSCAT | Oman’s prosecutor said several people have been arrested for preparing weapons and firebombs for use in an upcoming pro-reform demonstration.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office said the weapons were to be used in a demonstration in the northern industrial city of Sohar on Friday.

The statement Tuesday did not say how many people were arrested.

Last Friday, one protester was killed in clashes between police and demonstrators demanding more job opportunities and political freedom in the tightly ruled country.

On Sunday, the government released 57 people arrested in crackdowns against pro-reform protests, which began in late February.

The protests are small compared with upheavals elsewhere in the Arab world but unprecedented in Oman.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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