Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

Here is a look at the latest developments in Mideast political unrest on Wednesday:

Yemen: Britain pulls staff ahead of Friday protest
Britain said on Wednesday it was temporarily withdrawing part of its embassy team from Yemen’s capital Sanaa ahead of protests expected on Friday. “In light of the rapid deterioration in the security situation in Yemen and the high risk of increased tension in Sanaa and likely protests on Friday 25 March which might result in violent clashes, part of the British embassy team in Sanaa is being temporarily withdrawn, leaving a small core staff in place,” Britain’s Foreign Office said. Britain’s Foreign Office said it was calling on British citizens in Yemen to “leave now” as the government would find it very difficult to offer consular assistance in the event of further violence. Yemen’s parliament granted President Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s request for a 30-day state of emergency, which suspends the constitution, bars protests and gives security forces far-reaching powers of arrest. Saleh offered to step down by the end of the year to try to appease mounting demands for his resignation.

Libya: NATO patrols coast while arguing over mission
NATO ships patrolled off Libya’s coast as airstrikes, missiles and energized rebels forced Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks to roll back from two key western cities. In the east, civilians fled one strategic city while Libya’s opposition takes haphazard steps to form a government. Confusion emerges about who will lead the international effort to enforce a no-fly zone, with the U.S. vowing to relinquish its lead role on Saturday.

Syria: Security forces raid mosque, shelter, killing at least 15
Syrian security forces shoot live ammunition and tear gas near a mosque then raid a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters, killing at least 15 people. Wednesday’s crackdown in the southern city of Daraa marks the deadliest single day since anti-government protests inspired by uprisings across the Arab world reached this country last week. The latest deaths brings the number of people killed in Daraa since Friday to at least 22.

Oman: Protesters demand ousting of ministers
Protesters set up a tent camp in the capital of this Gulf kingdom, saying they’ll stay until several ministers they accuse of corruption leave. Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has made sweeping Cabinet shake-ups since the start of strikes and sit-ins, staged by thousands of workers and pro-reform activists in the strategic nation since last month.

Bahrain: Mystery group calls for Friday demonstration
Opposition activists plan to hold a day of demonstrations throughout the tiny island country on Friday, in defiance of a ban on all public gatherings under martial law declared last week. It was not clear which groups were behind the marches. Plans were circulated by email and Internet. They did not appear to involve the mainstream Shiite Muslim opposition group Wefaq, nor the February 14 Youth Movement. The British Foreign Office updated its travel advice on Wednesday to warn against travel to Bahrain and to inform Britons going to the Gulf Arab country about the protests.

Egypt: Political rules eased; Mubarak brass arrested
Egypt approved a law on Wednesday easing curbs that choked political life under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, opening the door for the formation of new parties that will compete in elections this year. The law is expected to result in a plethora of new parties, including one to be established by the Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamist group that was banned under Mubarak. Also, Egypt’s public prosecutor made an unprecedented sweep against the top security brass, charging the former interior minister and other officials with aiding the killing and the attempted killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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