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Angry protests spread to Libya, flare in Bahrain

CAIRO — The anti-government protest wave unleashed in Tunisia and Egypt swept into Libya, where demonstrators battled security forces in a rare public outpouring of anger at longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, according to news reports and Internet posts and videos Wednesday.

The tumult in Bengazi, Libya's second largest city, came as anti-government protests grew in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain and in Yemen, where one person was killed in a clash with police in the southern port of Aden.

In Egypt, meanwhile, scattered labor unrest flared five days after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. Activists called for major protests Friday to maintain pressure on the ruling military council to enact promised reforms.

There was no sign that the turmoil inspired by the uprisings against Mubarak and former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was abating in a region ruled for decades by despots and monarchs, many of them supported by the U.S. and other Western powers.

The protests against the eccentric Gadhafi, the Arab world's longest-ruling autocrat, erupted late Tuesday in Bengazi after the arrest of a prominent human rights lawyer, and raged past dawn Wednesday, according to news reports and accounts and videos posted on YouTube, Twitter and other websites.

The reports, many of which couldn't be independently confirmed, spoke of unrest in other cities. There were also reports of security forces using live ammunition and water cannons, and of numerous injured protesters.

The Libyan protesters called for a "day of anger" today.

In Bahrain, the main opposition group says at least two people were killed after police stormed a square occupied by anti-government protesters.

The group, Al Wefaq, says two men were killed when riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets early today to drive out thousands of demonstrators from Pearl Square in the center of the capital Manama.

Hospitals across the city were on alert for more causalities.

The square had been the hub for protests for sweeping political reforms by Bahrain's ruling monarchy. As many as 10,000 people filled Pearl Square in a growing standoff with the dynasty of King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, a witness said.

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