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Bahrain protests continue as clashes break out in Libya

Dozens injured in Libya after the pro-democracy push spreads from neighbouring north African state Tunisia.

A Bahraini anti-government protester prepares a sign at a makeshift camp at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, today.
A Bahraini anti-government protester prepares a sign at a makeshift camp at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, today.
Image: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

Updated at 16:00

THOUSANDS OF BAHRAINIS continue to protest today ahead as the funeral for a second person who died in the protests was held.

Meanwhile in Libya, protests which began breaking out overnight are continuing in the eastern city of Benghazi.

In Bahrain, protesters inspired by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has governed the country since 1971. He is also the uncle of ruling King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

Bahrain’s interior minister has apologised for the deaths of the two people and said those responsible had already been arrested.

The president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said that condolences expressed by the king last night over the deaths came too late because people are more focused on political change than on an investigation into the killings, Al Jazeera reports.

Police have been keeping their distance from protesters and mourners today, Reuters reports, and the interior minister said that all roads were open. Protesters said they were calling for the prime minister’s removal through peaceful means.

Officials for the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix say that the safety of visitors to the race will not be compromised by the political unrest, despite F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s fears for the event, Autosport reports. The Gulf state is scheduled to host the  2011 season’s first race from 11 to 13 March.

[caption id="attachment_85448" align="alignnone" width="296" caption="A funeral procession for Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, 21, who was killed in clashes Monday, moves slowly through the streets of Jidhafs, Bahrain, yesterday. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)"][/caption]

Unrest spreads

The Bahraini protests mark the spread of unrest in the Middle East to the area where most Middle Eastern oil is produced, Bloomberg reports.

Meanwhile, protests which broke out last night in Libya continue today, and pro- and anti-government protesters and police have reportedly been engaged in violent clashes in the city of Benghazi.

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Dozens of people have been injured so far, according to the AFP, as anti-government protesters prepare for a ‘day of rage’ tomorrow in an effort to force Colonel Gaddafi from power after 41 years of rule. The injuries are not thought to be serious.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on the Libyan government to allow freedom of expression by protesters, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Al Jazeera reporter Evan Hill said this morning that Libyan state TV reports that rallies are being held all over the country in support of Gaddafi.

The pro-democracy sentiments expressed by demonstrations in Tunisia last month have since spread to Egypt, Iran, and Yemen, before being taken up in Bahrain and Libya.

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