This is a video about the big pro-democracy demonstration today in Bahrain.
By Tom Mellen:
Bahrain protests rise again as 100,000 on street
Friday 09 March 2012
Over 100,000 people packed the main Budaiya highway outside Manama today to press the ruling US-backed monarchy to cede more power to representatives of the people.
Protesters carrying banners denouncing the Khalifa “dictatorship” and demanding the release of political prisoners formed a column over a mile long.
They chanted: “Down, down Hamad” in reference to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Riot police were deployed in force and a helicopter whirred overhead.
Officers fired tear gas at crowds of demonstrators who broke off from the main rally in a bid to reach the heavily guarded Pearl Roundabout in Manama.
There was no word on casualties at the time the Star went to press.
Pearl Roundabout was the hub of the civil rights movement that erupted onto the streets in February 2011 against the Khalifa dynasty’s control of all main posts and policies in the Gulf kingdom.
At least 45 people have been killed in the ongoing crackdown, and hundreds have been detained.
At the same time the Khalifa clan has offered concessions, including granting some decision-making powers to Parliament, while rejecting demands that it give up the right to appoint holders of top government positions, such as the prime ministership.
Leading opposition group Al-Wefaq has said that the proposed changes do not go far enough.
It has called for constitutional amendments that would give Bahrain’s elected Council of Representatives legislative clout and the authority to form governments.
Prominent civil rights activist Sheikh Isa Qassim said today: “We are here for the sake of our just demands.
“We cannot make concessions over them, and we stick with them because we have sacrificed for them.”
Washington has issued gentle appeals for dialogue to try to ease the tensions, while continuing to deliver military equipment to the kingdom.
Bahrain and other Gulf kingdoms have accused Iran of maintaining links with the country’s opposition groups, while failing to produce direct evidence.
Hundreds of thousands protest for democracy in Bahrain: here.
The king’s image is getting smaller at Manama Airport and photos of Hamad’s annointed heir, the crown prince, are nowhere to be seen. This, and an imprisoned Pearl Roundabout, symbolise much about Bahrain today: here.
US support for the Bahrain dictatorship has stymied democratic progress and enabled repression of activists: here.
March 9, 2012, by Alice Purkiss: Harassment of anti-government students at Bahrain Polytechnic continues: here.