6 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship continues oppression

  1. Bahrain police, protesters clash, Western activists held

    MANAMA | Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:40pm EST

    (Reuters) – Bahraini police detained two Western activists who had joined a women’s protest on Friday, after clashing overnight with protesters in Shi’ite districts of the Gulf Arab state.

    The two women activists – one American, one British, according to protesters – were detained by riot police who broke up the protest with teargas and stun grenades, after an announcement on a police loudspeaker that the demonstration was illegal.

    Riot police have maintained a heavier presence than usual in areas populated by majority Shi’ites this week to prevent mass protests on the anniversary of the February 14 pro-democracy uprising last year which was put down by force.

    “These women are protesting peacefully,” shouted a woman identified by protesters as U.S. activist Medea Benjamin, wearing a T-shirt that read “Unarmed civilian,” as she was dragged away by women police.

    A Bahraini woman choking from teargas was also dragged away.

    Protesters identified the second detained foreign activist as Briton Elaine Martha. Bahrain has already arrested and deported around eight foreign activists in the past few days.

    Later on Friday, large police forces used water cannons to try to disperse several hundred demonstrators in the northern district of Jidhafs. Protesters ran into side streets, only to regroup and reappear in a nearby area.

    In the district of Sar, police fired volleys of stun grenades and teargas to break up groups of teenagers who threw stones and petrol bombs late on Thursday.

    Police said an improvised explosive device (IED) containing nails had been thrown at them. In the nearby village of Bani Jamra, site of another protest, police said they had defused another IED.

    Some residents shouted anti-government slogans and the Muslim rallying cry “Allahu akbar” – God is greatest – from inside their homes or on rooftops.

    An Interior Ministry statement said two policemen were seriously injured in a petrol bomb attack late on Wednesday in the town of Sitra. Residents say at least 15 people were later arrested that night.

    A medic said at least 120 people were wounded earlier this week. Police have not said how many people they arrested.

    Bahrain has been in turmoil since last year’s uprising, mainly by majority Shi’ites complaining of political and economic marginalization by the Sunni royal Al Khalifa family.

    The authorities were determined to prevent protesters returning to a symbolically important central roundabout in the capital this week to mark the first anniversary of the uprising.

    Riot police and national guard forces maintained tight security near the roundabout, which is partly surrounded by barbed wire, and for the first time since a period of martial law last year deployed armored vehicles in Shi’ite villages.

    The opposition want a shift to fully fledged parliamentary democracy where the elected house forms cabinets, but the government has so far offered only reforms that allow parliament greater powers of scrutiny over ministers and budgets.

    (Reporting by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Tim Pearce and Alessandra Rizzo)

  2. Northampton resident Paki Wieland back home after detention in Bahrain

    Published: Friday, February 17, 2012, 3:30 PM Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 3:31 PM

    Diane Lederman, The Republican By Diane Lederman, The Republican

    NORTHAMPTON – Activist Patricia “Paki” Wieland is back home, and despite being detained for about 12 hours in Bahrain this week, she said, “I have no regrets having done it.

    “We wanted to let the people of Bahrain know they were not alone.”

    She and six other Americans were detained Tuesday on the one-year anniversary of a civilian uprising in which more than 35 people were killed. They went to support the protestors and to get the word out about their plight. She said since the uprising, at least 66 have died in violence and many more injured. Doctors have been punished for treating the injured, she said.
    The government has barred foreign journalists, human-rights observers and other outsiders from entering the county. She said few know about human rights violations there.

    She said she too knew little until a friend asked her to make the trip. And then she said she asked herself, “what can I do to raise people’s consciousness?”

    Wieland spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon organized by the American Friends Service Committee that drew more than a dozen of her friends and supporters. She also answered questions and showed pictures of the protest. She arrived back in New York on Wednesday and in Northampton on Thursday.

    “I wasn’t afraid,” she said of being detained at two police stations. She said she and the other Americans were not mistreated.

    Wieland said she was able to get into Bahrain on a tourist visa, but was deported because she did not report to the hotel she said would be staying at. She said the taxi driver didn’t want to take her there because it was too far.

    She didn’t think they would be detained. “I’m a naïve American.” She said, “I didn’t think they (the government) could be as repressive as they were. I didn’t think they would be as violent as they were.”

    She said police not only lobbed cans of American-produced tear gas but “kept bombarding us with more tear gas” even after the crowds dispersed.

    She said she was impressed by “… the tenacity of the people. The people are not deterred.” She said they feel they “have nothing to lose.” She said they flash the peace symbol and say “samood” which means steadfast.

    Last July, Wieland sailed in solidarity with some 38 other peace activists aboard a ship bent on defying the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has been in place since 2007 when Hamas came to power in the Arab territory. 

She was part of an international effort that employed 10 boats.

  3. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship’s oppression continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship arrests hunger striker’s daughter | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Pro-Bahrain democracy demonstrators arrested in London | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: No Valentine’s Day under Bahrain dictatorship | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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