Group: Other governments cracking down

Feb. 9, 2011 at 1:36 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Governments across the Middle East have been trying to stop demonstrations inspired by those in Tunisia and Egypt, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The countries involved include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank and Yemen. The group said they have been violating the rights to freedom of speech and assembly even though most of those governments have signed international agreements to protect them, Human Rights Watch said.

"Images of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have mesmerized the Arab public but have terrified their rulers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "They have responded with their usual mix of repression and intimidation to nip the buds of any wider democratic blossoming."

Whitson said the lesson other governments should learn from Tunisia and Egypt is that continued suppression of free speech only leads to dissent eventually springing up in unstoppable form.

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