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News Wrap: Iraqi Protests for Better Government Services Turn Violent

February 25, 2011 at 6:43 PM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Pro-human rights protests flared in many places in the Middle East today and violence erupted in some. Thousands of Iraqis demanding better government services marched in several cities, and clashed with security forces.

At least 12 demonstrators were killed, most of them in Mosul, where guards opened fire. In Egypt, Cairo’s Tahrir Square was filled with crowds pressing the country’s new military rulers to make democratic reforms. The protesters also demanded the prime minister resign.

SAFWAT HEGAZY, Muslim Brotherhood (through translator): Our main demand is for Ahmed Shafiq’s government to step down. We made Mubarak step down, and we must make Shafiq also step down. Shafiq has been appointed by Mubarak. He is one of his regime, and we want him to go, even if he is leading a government of angels. Our second request is the immediate release of all political prisoners who are still in prisons.

KWAME HOLMAN: One of the largest demonstrations yet played out in Bahrain’s capital. Many thousands of people gathered in Manama waving flags and demanding the government make political concessions. The huge protest blocked miles of roads and highways.

And in Yemen, government supporters and opponents held rival rallies in the capital, Sanaa. And troops opened fire on crowds in Aden, wounding 19.

In Pakistan, an American working for the CIA returned to court in Lahore in handcuffs. Raymond Davis is accused of murdering two Pakistanis. He says it was self-defense, but he refused to sign a document outlining the charges. Instead, he claimed diplomatic immunity. U.S. officials have demanded his release. The Pakistani government has said leave it to the courts to decide.

A Saudi Arabian college student charged with a bomb plot in Texas has made his first court appearance. Authorities say Khalid Aldawsari had a string of targets, including this Dallas home belonging to former President George W. Bush, as well as dams and nuclear plants. He arrived at federal court in Lubbock today in shackles, flanked by U.S. Marshals. Then, he appeared before a judge to hear charges he bought chemicals with intentions of building a bomb.

Ireland’s ruling party braced for a landslide loss today. Voters went to the polls amid soaring unemployment and anger over the economic collapse that forced Ireland to accept an international bailout. Election results won’t be finalized until Sunday.

Wall Street closed out the week with a rebound as oil prices stabilized. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 62 points to finish at 12,130. The Nasdaq rose 43 points to close at 2,781. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq lost about 2 percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.