By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A crowd of antigovernment demonstrators has held a rally in the Algerian capital, Algiers, in defiance of a government ban.
Scuffles were reported between demonstrators and police, who had been called out in the hundreds to prevent the unauthorized protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999.
And in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, several thousand young people gathered calling for that country’s president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, to step down.
The group marched toward the city’s central Tahrir Square before being turned back by a larger group of ruling party supporters, some of whom were armed with clubs and knives. The Associated Press reports that some antigovernment protesters were beaten by police.
The rallies come the day after massive protests in Egypt toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
In other signs Mubarak’s downfall is being felt across the Arab world, opposition groups in Bahrain have called for street rallies on February 14 to protest discrimination against minority Shi’as by the kingdom’s Sunni rulers.
And a state news agency in Kuwait has reported that authorities have banned the organization of any gatherings, marches, or rallies after Friday Prayers, calling on people “to put the interests of the homeland above all considerations.”
Earlier in the week, Jordan’s new prime minister promised to continue political reforms demanded by protesters who forced King Abdullah to reshuffle the cabinet.
And in a rare challenge to the absolute power of the ruling dynasty in Saudi Arabia, a group of opposition activists said they had asked the nation’s king for the right to form a political party.