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Violent protests erupt in Tahrir Square as Mohammed Morsi’s decree threatens new turmoil at heart of Arab Spring
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s decree that put his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament was elected caused fury amongst his opponents on Friday who accused him of being the new Hosni Mubarak and hijacking the revolution.

Police fired tear gas in a street leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, heart of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, where thousands demanded Mursi quit and accused him of launching a “coup”. There were violent protests in Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.

“The people want to bring down the regime,” shouted protesters in Tahrir, echoing a chant used in the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down. “Get out, Mursi,” they chanted. (Reuters; AP Photos)

Syria protests: Thousands mass across the country, activist saySyrian security forces shot dead at least five protesters in the northern city of Hama on Friday, a rights group said, while Arab League monitors were touring the city as part of a Syria-wide trip to assess whether Damascus has ended a crackdown.“Five were martyred today and at least 20 wounded when the Syrian security forces opened fire (on protesters),” the Observatory said.The group also said security forces fired at tens of thousands of protesters in the northern province of Idlib, wounding 25.Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in Douma after Friday prayers. They hurled stones at the security forces. At least 24 people were wounded, the Observatory said.Hundreds of thousands massed in cities across the country in some of the largest protests seen in the nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. (Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

Syria protests: Thousands mass across the country, activist say
Syrian security forces shot dead at least five protesters in the northern city of Hama on Friday, a rights group said, while Arab League monitors were touring the city as part of a Syria-wide trip to assess whether Damascus has ended a crackdown.

“Five were martyred today and at least 20 wounded when the Syrian security forces opened fire (on protesters),” the Observatory said.

The group also said security forces fired at tens of thousands of protesters in the northern province of Idlib, wounding 25.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in Douma after Friday prayers. They hurled stones at the security forces. At least 24 people were wounded, the Observatory said.

Hundreds of thousands massed in cities across the country in some of the largest protests seen in the nine-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. (Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

Gary Clement’s top ten cartoons of 2011It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But mostly, it was the worst of times. Natural disasters, civil unrest, bloody suppression, financial catastrophe, political shenanigans, sexual indiscretion, 2011 had it all and then some.It made my life as a cartoonist pretty easy, as all these events readily lend themselves to satire and mockery. Except for natural disasters.

Gary Clement’s top ten cartoons of 2011
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But mostly, it was the worst of times. Natural disasters, civil unrest, bloody suppression, financial catastrophe, political shenanigans, sexual indiscretion, 2011 had it all and then some.

It made my life as a cartoonist pretty easy, as all these events readily lend themselves to satire and mockery. Except for natural disasters.

More than 6,200 killed so far in Syria revolt: human rights groupThousands of people including hundreds of children have died in Syria’s crackdown on an anti-government revolt, a human rights group said on Thursday.Syria is facing increasingly fierce international condemnation for its handling of months of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, partly inspired by the “Arab Spring” uprisings that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East.Syria says it is fighting foreign-backed “terrorists” and on Thursday announced that more than 2,000 of its security forces have been killed in the unrest.

More than 6,200 killed so far in Syria revolt: human rights group
Thousands of people including hundreds of children have died in Syria’s crackdown on an anti-government revolt, a human rights group said on Thursday.

Syria is facing increasingly fierce international condemnation for its handling of months of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, partly inspired by the “Arab Spring” uprisings that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East.

Syria says it is fighting foreign-backed “terrorists” and on Thursday announced that more than 2,000 of its security forces have been killed in the unrest.

Syria’s ‘bloodiest day’: Over 200 die in midst of ‘unprecedented massacre’Syrian forces killed 111 people ahead of the start of a mission to monitor President Bashar al-Assad’s implementation of an Arab League peace plan, activists said on Wednesday, and France branded the killings an “unprecedented massacre.”Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 111 civilians and activists were killed in addition to over 100 casualties among army deserters in Idlib province, turning Tuesday into the “bloodiest day of the Syrian revolution.”“There was a massacre of an unprecedented scale in Syria on Tuesday,” said French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero. “It is urgent that the UN Security Council issues a firm resolution that calls for an end to the repression.”

Syria’s ‘bloodiest day’: Over 200 die in midst of ‘unprecedented massacre’
Syrian forces killed 111 people ahead of the start of a mission to monitor President Bashar al-Assad’s implementation of an Arab League peace plan, activists said on Wednesday, and France branded the killings an “unprecedented massacre.”

Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 111 civilians and activists were killed in addition to over 100 casualties among army deserters in Idlib province, turning Tuesday into the “bloodiest day of the Syrian revolution.”

“There was a massacre of an unprecedented scale in Syria on Tuesday,” said French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero. “It is urgent that the UN Security Council issues a firm resolution that calls for an end to the repression.”

The Arab Awakening: The beginning of the end for the Gaddafi regimeThe seeds of Libya’s uprising were planted 15 years ago when stories of cold-blooded murder began to seep from Abu Salilm, the nation’s most notorious prison.In 1996, more than 1,270 political prisoners were killed at the Tripoli detention centre, shot to death by the henchmen of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.Their families knew nothing about their fate until 2001, when the government acknowledged at least some of what’s now considered one of the most horrific crimes against humanity under the Gaddafi regime.Fathi Terbil, 39, a human rights lawyer in Benghazi, became leader of a legal team representing the slain prisoners’ families. Protests were planned for mid-February in the eastern Libya city and Mr. Terbil was preparing to begin a court case examining the Abu Salim massacre. He planned to demand compensation — and answers — for the families.He was deemed a brave soul for agreeing to do so. On Feb. 15, he was arrested by government officials.Then something extraordinary happened, protesters say.Mr. Terbil’s mother ran out into the street and made the first call to action. “Wake up, wake up oh Benghazi,” she shouted. “This is the night that we’ve been waiting for.” (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

The Arab Awakening: The beginning of the end for the Gaddafi regime
The seeds of Libya’s uprising were planted 15 years ago when stories of cold-blooded murder began to seep from Abu Salilm, the nation’s most notorious prison.

In 1996, more than 1,270 political prisoners were killed at the Tripoli detention centre, shot to death by the henchmen of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Their families knew nothing about their fate until 2001, when the government acknowledged at least some of what’s now considered one of the most horrific crimes against humanity under the Gaddafi regime.

Fathi Terbil, 39, a human rights lawyer in Benghazi, became leader of a legal team representing the slain prisoners’ families. Protests were planned for mid-February in the eastern Libya city and Mr. Terbil was preparing to begin a court case examining the Abu Salim massacre. He planned to demand compensation — and answers — for the families.

He was deemed a brave soul for agreeing to do so. On Feb. 15, he was arrested by government officials.

Then something extraordinary happened, protesters say.

Mr. Terbil’s mother ran out into the street and made the first call to action. “Wake up, wake up oh Benghazi,” she shouted. “This is the night that we’ve been waiting for.” (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Burnt and damaged books at the Institute of Egypt in central Cairo on December 19, 2011 after the world-famous centre caught fire during deadly clashes between security forces and protesters. The heavily damaged historic centre for the advancement of scientific research, housing priceless national archives, was founded in 1798 during Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt, and contained more than 20,000 precious documents and manuscripts. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images READ MORE

Burnt and damaged books at the Institute of Egypt in central Cairo on December 19, 2011 after the world-famous centre caught fire during deadly clashes between security forces and protesters. The heavily damaged historic centre for the advancement of scientific research, housing priceless national archives, was founded in 1798 during Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt, and contained more than 20,000 precious documents and manuscripts. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images READ MORE

The Arab Awakening: The ex-Google executive behind Egypt’s online revolutionThe Arab Spring began a year ago, ushering in an era of revolution and protest. In the second of a six-part series, the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed charts Egypt’s route from “day of rage” to the ballot boxDuring the early days of Egypt’s revolution, the once-powerful and much-feared interior minister, Habib al-Adly, reportedly dismissed Cairo’s protesters as “a bunch of incognizant, ineffective young people.”It was, perhaps, the most erroneous assessment of the entire Arab Spring.Mr. Habib obviously had not met Wael Ghonim, the former Google executive, computer engineer and Internet activist who unwittingly became the unofficial spokesman for Egypt’s revolutionaries.“I’m not a hero. I want to tell every mother and every father who lost a child, I am sorry. But this is not our mistake. I swear to God, it is not our mistake. It is the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go of it.” (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

The Arab Awakening: The ex-Google executive behind Egypt’s online revolution
The Arab Spring began a year ago, ushering in an era of revolution and protest. In the second of a six-part series, the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed charts Egypt’s route from “day of rage” to the ballot box

During the early days of Egypt’s revolution, the once-powerful and much-feared interior minister, Habib al-Adly, reportedly dismissed Cairo’s protesters as “a bunch of incognizant, ineffective young people.”

It was, perhaps, the most erroneous assessment of the entire Arab Spring.

Mr. Habib obviously had not met Wael Ghonim, the former Google executive, computer engineer and Internet activist who unwittingly became the unofficial spokesman for Egypt’s revolutionaries.

“I’m not a hero. I want to tell every mother and every father who lost a child, I am sorry. But this is not our mistake. I swear to God, it is not our mistake. It is the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go of it.” (Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

Photographs from inside Egypt’s worst violence since before the electionsStone-throwing demonstrators clashed with troops wielding truncheons and electric prods in central Cairo on Friday, witnesses said, in the worst violence since the start of Egypt’s first free election in six decades.By early afternoon, troops were trying to disperse around 10,000 protesters with truncheons and what witnesses said appeared to be cattle prods that they used to give electric shocks to some of the demonstrators.In a pattern of spreading violence that has become a familiar refrain during nine months of army rule since President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, protesters regrouped in growing numbers as resentment at security forces’ tactics grew. (Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Photographs from inside Egypt’s worst violence since before the elections
Stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with troops wielding truncheons and electric prods in central Cairo on Friday, witnesses said, in the worst violence since the start of Egypt’s first free election in six decades.

By early afternoon, troops were trying to disperse around 10,000 protesters with truncheons and what witnesses said appeared to be cattle prods that they used to give electric shocks to some of the demonstrators.

In a pattern of spreading violence that has become a familiar refrain during nine months of army rule since President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, protesters regrouped in growing numbers as resentment at security forces’ tactics grew. (Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Middle East on the brink of war: analysisAs Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad clings to power with the quiet backing of regional powers Iran and Russia, the Middle East may be sliding slowly into war.Squeezed between the rebellions of a bloody Arab Spring and growing fears of a possible military response to Iran’s growing nuclear threat, the region is becoming increasingly unstable.“I would be very surprised if it turned into a Russian-American war, but this could be a Mid-East war: Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, Israel all having at each other,” said Jack Granatstein, military historian and senior research fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

Middle East on the brink of war: analysis
As Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad clings to power with the quiet backing of regional powers Iran and Russia, the Middle East may be sliding slowly into war.

Squeezed between the rebellions of a bloody Arab Spring and growing fears of a possible military response to Iran’s growing nuclear threat, the region is becoming increasingly unstable.

“I would be very surprised if it turned into a Russian-American war, but this could be a Mid-East war: Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, Israel all having at each other,” said Jack Granatstein, military historian and senior research fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

Egyptian voters crowd polls for ‘first real election in 30 years’Egyptians voted on Monday in their first election since a popular revolt ousted Hosni Mubarak, amid fears the generals who replaced the deposed leader would try to cling on to power.In the nine months since the end of Mubarak’s 30-year rule, political change in Egypt has faltered, with the military apparently more focused on preserving its power and privilege than on fostering any democratic transformation.Frustration erupted last week into violent protests that cost 42 lives and forced the army council to promise civilian rule by July.“Aren’t the army officers the ones who protected us during the revolution? What do those slumdogs in Tahrir want?” one woman asked loudly at a polling station in Cairo’s Nasr City.“Those in Tahrir are young men and women who are the reason why a 61-year-old man like me voted in a parliamentary election for the first time in his life today,” one man replied politely. (Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian voters crowd polls for ‘first real election in 30 years’
Egyptians voted on Monday in their first election since a popular revolt ousted Hosni Mubarak, amid fears the generals who replaced the deposed leader would try to cling on to power.

In the nine months since the end of Mubarak’s 30-year rule, political change in Egypt has faltered, with the military apparently more focused on preserving its power and privilege than on fostering any democratic transformation.

Frustration erupted last week into violent protests that cost 42 lives and forced the army council to promise civilian rule by July.

“Aren’t the army officers the ones who protected us during the revolution? What do those slumdogs in Tahrir want?” one woman asked loudly at a polling station in Cairo’s Nasr City.

“Those in Tahrir are young men and women who are the reason why a 61-year-old man like me voted in a parliamentary election for the first time in his life today,” one man replied politely. (Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo of the day Anti-government protesters perform weekly Friday prayers during a rally to demand the trial of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, November 25, 2011. (Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Photo of the day
Anti-government protesters perform weekly Friday prayers during a rally to demand the trial of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, November 25, 2011. (Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Egypt: Hardcore protesters clash with police through the night in battle over military ruleStreet clashes rumbled on in Cairo on Wednesday as protesters derided  a deal struck between Egypt’s ruling generals and mostly Islamist  parties for a faster transfer to civilian rule.
The death toll in five days of violence climbed to 37 by a Reuters  count after a man was killed in the city of Alexandria. Hardcore  protesters battled police through the night in Cairo.
The Health Ministry said 32 people had been killed and 2,000 wounded in disturbances across the country of 80 million.

Egypt: Hardcore protesters clash with police through the night in battle over military rule
Street clashes rumbled on in Cairo on Wednesday as protesters derided a deal struck between Egypt’s ruling generals and mostly Islamist parties for a faster transfer to civilian rule.

The death toll in five days of violence climbed to 37 by a Reuters count after a man was killed in the city of Alexandria. Hardcore protesters battled police through the night in Cairo.

The Health Ministry said 32 people had been killed and 2,000 wounded in disturbances across the country of 80 million.