Protests continue in Egypt, Yemen while Algeria throws wheat at the fire

Protests calling for political change in Egypt and Yemen appear to be gaining momentum, sparked by the successful people’s revolt in Tunisia.

Those two countries appear to be the main hotspots right now, though this trend of uprisings is much more widespread. GlobalPost has a nice (but long) summary of the “region in upheaval.”

A somewhat oddly headlined story in the New York Times — Egyptian Markets Fall as Protests Gather Support — actually describes much more of what’s going on in Egypt than its impact on the market. For example, the famed Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize winner (and nuclear arms inspector) Mohamed ElBaradei has publicly supported the protests and urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Meanwhile, similar protests are going on as well in Yemen while the Tunisian spark appears to have been snuffed out in Algeria for the moment anyway, by the Algerian government buying a huge amount of wheat.

Huh? It’s about food? You probably thought it was about freedom and democracy. Well, it is. Many say the bulk of the protests are really being fueled by the bad economy and rising food prices. I guess Algeria can test that theory. It may be able to buy some quiet time with these wheat purchases, but we’ll see if that quells resentment built upon a long history of political repression.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org, follow him on Twitter @tompaulson and/or send a comment below.