Yemeni protests continue as pro-government forces violently clashed with their anti-regime counterparts, while Bahrain has seen large portions of the nation's population take to the streets, with some calling for reform and others demanding the ousting of the monarchy.
Seven members of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party resigned from parliament in protest of violence used against demonstrators. However, estimates still suggest that he has the support of 80% of the parliament.
"The people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully," Abdulaziz Jubari, one of the members of parliament who resigned, told Reuters. Student protesters reported live gunfire that killed one person in Yemen's capital. "Everyone must be included in a national dialogue, including the Houthis," Jubairi also said, in reference to Shiite separatists in Yemen's north.
Bahrain released 308 political prisoners and pardoned 2 other exiled opposition members, a day after over 100,000 protesters took to the streets. The government move was one of few that the divided opposition could agree on, as many of the street protesters want an end to the monarchy while the opposition parties are continuing negotiations with the crowned prince. "Do you want the royal family out of this country or not?" said Ali Abduleman, a Shiite blogger who was just released. "If we manage these different opinions in our opposition we will get what we want."
The seven main opposition parties, including major Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, demanded the government release the remaining political prisoners, form a new constitutional monarchy with power in civilian hands, and undertake an independent investigation into violence against protesters.
Regardless, Bahrain's monarchy has broken the unwritten "social contract" with its Gulf nation, where political participation is surrendered for luxury. Moody's Investors Service will also review the nation's credit rating, while Standard & Poor's has already cut its rating due to Bahrain's high exposure to Libya.
The Saudi government has also expressed concern that the unrest may spill over into their kingdom. "There is no way that the royal family here will allow the Al Khalifas [Bahrain's rulers] to fall. They can't afford to," BBC's Bill Law reported cleric Mohsen al-Awaji, a close friend of the regime, as saying.