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Pro-Democracy Protests Sweep Across Arab World Updated: 2011-02-25 00:00:00 KST

Over the past several weeks pro-democracy movements have been spreading from one Arab nation to the next.
First Tunisia and then Egypt have seen long-standing authoritarian regimes yielding to large-scale public demonstrations for public reforms.

The call for democracy has now spread to many other Arab countries with citizens in Libya continue on with their anti-government protests despite the soaring death toll.
And for more details on this we have Arirang Today's reporter Kim Hyo-sun joining us here at the studio.
Hello Hyosun.

[Reporter : ] Hi Sean, and Conn-young.
Large-scale anti-government demonstrations in Libya are undoubtedly one of the biggest concerns for the international community.
As they saw with their own eyes how their neighbors in Tunisia and Egypt toppled down the long-standing autocratic regimes other Arab nations also got courageous to fight for their rights.
Let's take a closer look at the details.


What started as a young man's protest suicide in Tunisia earlier in January toppled down the autocratic regime in Egypt and now intensified into pro-democracy protests across the Arab world.
Egypt was filled with pro-democracy advocates protesting against President Mubarak's autocratic rule.


[Interview : ] "We want Mubarak and his agents to leave, we don't want them. All the people here are calling for change. We want change.''

And after 18 days of protests they finally claimed victory by putting an end to President Mubarak's 30 years of authoritarian rule.
The call for change is now sparking anti-government protests in neighboring Arab nations including Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Libya where the citizens are all tired of their regimes' long dictatorship.
In Lybia protesters have kept on in the face of sickening state violence and are showing how dedicated and desperate they are and how cruel the regime is.
Reports say that the death toll is increasing at a fast pace as violent clashes continue between the protesters and government forces.
Yet the protesters show no signs of giving up as they believe there are much more to gain than they have to lose even if it's their own lives.
Responding to such calls for democracy which don't seem to fade soon Muammar Gadahfi is stressing that he will never step down.

Over in Algeria students were inspired by the uprisings in other parts of the Arab world that have toppled the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
The protesters are demanding an end to corruption and a review of the national education system as they say they are sick and tired of the soaring unemployment rate and the cost of living.


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[Interview : ] "Most of the students protesting here are from higher education schools and are demanding a review of the dual diploma system for state engineers and masters degrees, among other demands which are yet to be answered. "

Pro-democracy advocates took to the streets also in Iran as seen on YouTube video clips.
Shouting and chanting slogans the protesters called for immediate political change.
In Bahrain a tiny Gulf kingdom with a Shiite majority ruled by a Sunni minority tens of thousands joined the pro-democracy protests.


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[Interview : ] "There are many people who stayed the night at the roundabout and they are asking for their rights, there are also some protests at the schools."


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[Interview : ] "It's one of these many milestones that we have to cross to reach the eventual victory. The victory is about democracy. We want to be no less than what democratic people in the West, the democracy they enjoy."

Streets of Yemen were also filled with protesters shouting for freedom and democracy.


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[Interview : ] "We want to experience freedom. We felt freedom after what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. We have to carry on with the struggle, until the corrupt regime is completely down, and the people have regained their rights."


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[Interview : ] "We want to bring down the state. There are two solutions for them: either the President learns the lesson from the Egyptian President and the Tunisian one, or they meet all our demands."

Although each nation has its own reasons behind such public demonstrations one thing is clear.
They are calling for freedom and democracy.


[Interview : ] "College graduates' unemployment was one of the cause along with prolonged rule.
As absolute power is bound to get corrupted, prolonged rule which has continued for 3 or 4 decades has become corrupted. Concentrated power led to concentration of wealth and thus has evoked public sentiment."

At the heart of the movement stood the Internet specifically social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Social media services contributed to helping the democracy advocates to organize widespread protests across the Arab world but at the same time attracting the authorities as it later came under censorship across the protests-hit nations.
The latest country to join the wave of protests inspired by Tunisian 'Jasmine Revolution' is China where the government managed to tap the uprising before it got intensified.
Although people did take to the streets in Beijing or Shanghai experts say that situations in China is starkly different from those in the Arab world.


[Interview : ] "Since reform and openening-up, China's most of the citizens including its middle class received the most benefits. On the other hand, Arab's 'Jasmine Revolution' is different in that its citizens did not receive any economic benefits, thus living in very poor conditions."

With the entire international community eyeing the spread of pro-democracy outcries it looks like the next question is whether it will spread to one of the world's most reclusive nation North Korea.
Although many experts say that pro-democracy demonstrations in Pyeongyang are very unlikely nothing is clear regarding where this pro-democracy wave is headed.


It looks like the hard living conditions and the soaring unemployment rate provoked the citizens' anger towards their autocratic governments.

[Reporter : ] Yes, that's right, Conn-young.
When you look at the demographics of most of these Arab nations those in their early 20s to 30s account for a large percentage of the total population.
But they are suffering from an unimaginably high unemployment rate of over 30 percent.

The international community is not only concerned about the bloody violence but also about the increasing oil prices.

[Reporter : ] That's right.
As violence in continues in Libya the crude oil prices in New York broke the 1-hundred-dollar mark on Thursday.
Although the rest of the international community is seriously condemning the violence in Libya the future of the country and the rest of the pro-democracy movements in the Arab world is left to be seen.
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