Monday, February 21, 2011

Protests Spread to Djibouti

Djibouti is a tiny country on the 'Horn of Africa' that you may never have heard of, but it occupies a very strategic position located at the narrow point between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

"Police have opened fire on demonstrators in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa nation that hosts the only U.S. military base on the continent, according to the leader of an opposition party.

“The police are confronting demonstrators,” Mohamed Daoud Chehem, head of the Djibouti Party for Development, said by phone from the protest in the capital, Djibouti. “They have opened fire,” he said, without being able to specify if anyone was injured or what type of ammunition was used.

Chehem earlier said that as many as 20,000 people had joined the protest against President Ismail Guelleh, and that he expected numbers to swell to 50,000.

Anti-government protests across North Africa since January ousted the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, while similar demonstrations have occurred in Algeria and Libya. In Djibouti, Guelleh’s People’s Rally for Progress party has ruled the country since independence in 1977. The 63-year-old leader, who was elected in 1999, amended the constitution in March to allow him to extend his rule by two more six-year terms.

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