UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for "bold reforms, not repression" amid a wave of unrest rocking Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa.
"Sustainable progress can take roots in places where people are empowered, where governments are responsive, where growth is inclusive," Ban told a press conference at the United Nations.
"In a number of countries transitions have been initiated or reforms have been promised. It is crucial that leaders deliver on those promises," he added.
The ongoing unrest has spread to other nations since Tunisia deposed its long time ruler last month and Egypt’s veteran president Hosni Mubarak stood down last week, both as a result of people power revolts.
"I will say it once again: the situation calls for bold reforms, not repression," Ban said.
Clashes Thursday left 24 dead in Libya during "a day of anger" called by anti-government protesters, and two died in a march in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq.
Four people were killed in Bahrain when the military deployed armored vehicles to break up protests.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced concern over unrest in the US Gulf ally, and urged restraint when she spoke Thursday to Manama’s foreign minister.
Fierce clashes between pro- and anti-regime protesters also raged for a fifth straight day Thursday in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, leaving at least 25 injured, while police and protesters also clashed violently in the southern city of Aden.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists attacked the protesters with batons and rocks, while the protesters, chanting "The people want to overthrow the regime," responded by hurling stones.
Violent protests have also rocked Algeria, where thousands of people opposed to long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have taken to the streets demanding he relinquish power.
Roughly 2,000 protesters poured into the streets of Algiers last weekend, defying a ban on public demonstrations and a state of emergency. Roughly 30,000 riot police were dispatched to stop them.
Algeria’s government said Wednesday that by the end of February it will lift the state of emergency slapped on the country 19 years ago at the start of a decade-long bloody conflict with Islamist militants.
A senior former leader of the Algerian regime, Abdelhamid Mehri, on Thursday called for sweeping political changes in the north African country.