Bahrain regime violence

This video from Ireland says about itself:

May 31, 2013

Professor Damian McCormack, Head of BRAVO Advisory Council, speaks in Dublin Ireland about the BRAVO conference on the use of tear gas in Bahrain

From Reuters news agency:

Bahrain protesters face birdshot, tear gas

August 14 2013 at 07:31pm

MANAMA – Bahraini police fired tear gas and birdshot at demonstrators on Wednesday, witnesses said, as protests called for by activists to press demands for democratic change in the US-allied Gulf kingdom turned violent.

Activists have stepped up a two-and-a-half-year-old campaign to push the Sunni Muslim ruling family into allowing more democracy in the Shi’a-majority state of 1.25 million people. Bahrain is an important US regional ally against Shi’a Iran.

Opposition figures had called in social media for mass rallies on Wednesday in Bahrain, prompting the authorities to tighten security and warn of tough measures and leading the United States to temporarily close its embassy.

In Shakhoora, a village west of the capital Manama, a standoff deteriorated into a clash between police on one side of a barbed wire fence they erected overnight and about 300 demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans on the other.

A Reuters witness said police charged the crowd, firing birdshot and tear gas. …

Earlier, a protest of some 100 people ended peacefully in the village of Saar west of Manama without police intervention.

The main opposition Al Wefaq Society said on its website that around 60 protest rallies were held in 40 locations on Wednesday. …

Security forces converged on the Manama district of al-Seef after activists used Twitter to encourage demonstrators to gather there, in defiance of a blanket ban on protests in the capital, although no incidents were reported.

The concerted new thrust for a “free and democratic Bahrain” through popular protest is being driven by “Tamarrod” (Rebellion), a loose association of opposition activists who coalesced in early July.

Tamarrod is named after the Egyptian movement that helped muster massive protests against President Mohamed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood before the military removed the country’s first freely-elected leader on July 3.

However, while the Egyptian protesters were backed by the military, Bahrain’s security forces remain loyal to a government that pledged on Monday to “forcefully confront” demonstrators and prosecute those responsible for “incitement”.

It described the acts as “terrorism”, for which new laws passed this month allow tougher penalties including longer prison terms and the stripping of Bahraini nationality.

In some villages, all shops were closed on Wednesday. In Manama, businesses were open but there was a bigger police presence than usual. In the Bab al-Bahrain commercial district, police in riot gear sat in a parked bus. Security forces were also monitoring traffic on roads leading into the capital, occasionally stopping vehicles to check identity papers.

The Bahrain opposition complains of discrimination against majority Shi’as in areas such as employment and public services, and is demanding a constitutional monarchy with a government chosen from within a democratically-elected parliament. The government denies any discrimination.

Bahrain, a tiny island state that hosts the US Fifth Fleet as a bulwark for US-aligned Gulf monarchies against Iran, has suffered bouts of unrest since February 2011 when a Shi’a-led uprising demanded the al-Khalifa dynasty give up power.

The authorities crushed the revolt, one of a series of Arab Spring upheavals, but protests and clashes have persisted despite talks between government and opposition.

Wefaq’s leader told Reuters on Tuesday that it was not planning to join the protests officially but supported the right to peaceful demonstrations.

“I know that it is going to be a peaceful movement but, having said that, I also expect clashes between the government forces and the protesters, because they are against all protests and demonstrations,” Sheikh Ali Salman said.

In Bahrain, they are throwing up barricades to their citizens’ right to protest – literally: here.

Bahrain Security Forces Fire Teargas against Tamarod Protesters. Injuries reported in two villages as demonstrators gather to push home reform demands: here.

Fifty Bloggers Demand the Release of Bahrain’s Mohammed Hassan: here.

While the world concentrates on the bloody scenes emerging out of Egypt, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier has been stationed off the coast of Bahrain in response to building protests against the country’s US-backed dictatorship: here.

In Bahrain, checkpoints, roadblocks and barbed wire fences have been erected around villages and neighbourhoods near the capital city, Manama. Shop owners have closed down their stores as concrete barriers line major streets and hundreds of security forces in riot gear stand guard: here.


16 thoughts on “Bahrain regime violence

  1. Bahrain Intensifies Crackdown on Activist

    By Diana Sayed
    Human Rights Defenders Program

    Mohamed Hassan Sayef, a Bahraini blogger, was arrested on July 31, and was allegedly held incommunicado in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for over three days, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). His computer, camera, phone and every other electronic item found in his room were also confiscated.

    The arrest is part of an alarming wave of renewed repression targeting activists and peaceful protesters. In anticipation of the Egypt-inspired Tamarod protests, which began today, the Bahrain National Assembly recommended and the King signed off on repressive measures, including harsher penalties for those who use social networks to express opposition views or what the government deems “illegal activities.”

    Sayef’s family was told that he was “wanted” but were not given any explanation for his arrest. He was then taken to the General Prosecutor for interrogation where he was denied legal counsel, and charged with “calling for gatherings,” before being transferred to Dry Dock Prison.

    On August 7, he was able to access legal representation, and was charged with “operating accounts that call for changing the regime,” “inciting hatred of the regime” and “calling to disobey the law.” He remains in detention for a period of 45 days pending an investigation.

    But there’s more to this case: Hassan’s lawyer, Abdul Aziz Moussa, was also arrested and his personal computer was confiscated after he reported on Twiter on the visible signs of torture he had seen on Hassan’s body. This confirmed Hassan’s reports that he had been subjected to torture while in custody at the CID. The public prosecution claimed that Moussa had “disclosed confidential information about the investigation,” and decided to keep the lawyer in detention for a week pending an investigation.

    Other key human rights figures including Nabeel Rajab, President of BCHR, Aldulhadi and Zainab Al Khawaja, remain in prison, and last week prominent Bahraini human rights defender Maryam Al Khawaja, Acting President of the BCHR, was refused permission to board a British Airways flight from Copenhagen to Bahrain, apparently at the request of the Bahrain regime. She was allowed into the country earlier this year.

    Despite international criticism, the government’s crackdown has continued unabated. This week promises to be a huge test: for the ability of protesters to produce impressive numbers, for the willingness of the government to respond in accordance with international human rights law, and for the commitment of Bahrain’s allies to push for reform.

    As the Tamarod movement protest continue to unfold, the U.S. government must not bear silent witness to another violent crackdown.


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