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DJIBOUTI: Reform demands spread to tiny East African nation

February 18, 2011 | 11:08 am

Testifying to the infectious fever of calling for democratic change, protests spread Friday to the tiny East African nation of Djibouti, where thousands rallied in demand that the president resign.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh has incurred the wrath of his countryman by changing the constitution to scrap a two-term limit that would have prohibited him from running for reelection in April.

The Guelleh dynasty has been in power for three decades in the nation of 516,000. Despite rampant unemployment and life expectancy of only 43 years, analysts predict that Guelleh would win reelection if allowed to run.

Djibouti, strategically located where the Gulf of Aden leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, hosts the only U.S. military base in Africa at Camp Lemonier.

-- Carol J. Williams

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