Anti-government protesters in Libya are calling for what organizers call a “day of anger” as dissent grows in the North African nation, part of the latest spate of unrest in the region, including a crackdown in the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain early Thursday.
In a series of clashes four people were reported dead and dozens injured. The demonstrations grew in Benghazi and pro-government rallies were underway in the capital city of Tripoli. The riots were initially sparked by the detention of a lawyer representing relatives of a group of people allegedly killed by security forces.
Such unrest has rarely been seen in Libya, where Col. Muammar Gaddafi has ruled since 1969.
In Yemen, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after 32 years in office. He had previously indicated that he will not seek re-election in 2013, but that has not quieted the protests, which have gone on for a week in the capital of Sanaa.
Witnesses say police have fired shots into the air to dispel marchers and that some have been arrested. Organizers are calling for larger protests on Friday.
Like Bahrain, Yemen is seen as an ally in the region and pivotal to fighting al-Qaida. A Yemen-based faction was behind the attempt to blow up an airliner in Detroit in 2009.
Tourists Die in Vietnam Boat Sinking
A wooden boat in the Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sank during a tour of the area’s renowned islands, killing 12 people. Those onboard included foreign tourists. A rescue crew has rescued 15 people thus far.
Witnesses said a plank on the boat snapped, allowing water to rush in as those who drowned slept in their cabins.
Pakistan Delays Decision on Trial of Accused American
Pakistan’s government now has three weeks to decide if it will try an American who shot two Pakistanis in what he said was a robbery attempt will face trial, a setback to efforts by the United States to have Raymond A. Davis, 36, considered for diplomatic immunity. The decision came following a visit by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, in an attempt to break the deadlock between the often-tenuous allies.
Davis shot the two men in a poor area of Lahore while he was driving alone. A third person died when a vehicle coming to his aid ran over a pedestrian.
The court is under public pressure to try Davis, but the U.S. has threatened to cut military aid.