News / Middle East

Bahrain Police Disperse Protesters

Riot police chase Bahraini demonstrators as they disperse a protest with tear gas in the village of Duraz, Bahrain, outside the capital of Manama, February 14, 2011
Riot police chase Bahraini demonstrators as they disperse a protest with tear gas in the village of Duraz, Bahrain, outside the capital of Manama, February 14, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Riot police in Bahrain used tear gas and rubber bullets Monday to break up widespread protests inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.  Human rights groups report one person was killed and at least 10 others hospitalized by nightfall.

Despite a heavy crackdown by police, thousands of demonstrators participated in what organizers called a "Day of Rage" across Bahrain, a strategic American ally in the Persian Gulf.

Their main demands are for a new constitution, the release of political prisoners, stopping perceived discrimination against the country’s Shi’ite Muslims, and putting an end to the naturalization of foreign citizens.

The vice president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, monitored the situation through the day and says the demonstrators were peaceful. 

"None of them [protesters] even took a stone or anything to throw, but the police will not wait for us to do anything anyway, they will attack us with rubber bullets, tear gas, with shotguns," said Rajab. "Since last night, many people were injured, people transferred to hospital. The majority of people were not transferred to hospital because once they go to hospital the government will arrest them."

By Monday afternoon, gunshots could be heard in a number of Shi’ite neighborhoods. In the Bani Jamrah district, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets down a street filled with women and children.

A resident who only wanted to be known as Awal was among the crowd.

"See what this is doing? The police is to help the people, not to beat the people," said Awal.
Fifteen-year-old Zahra Abdul Ameer was also at the scene and needed to be rushed to a nearby house to be cared for.

"I was standing there and they threw something on us and this started to explode and we couldn’t breath the air," said Zahra Abdul Ameer. "Then I started running and I didn’t see anything.  The man brought me to this house and I was so tired. I was going to faint, then the woman gave me some water. I feel afraid."

The interior ministry confirmed via Twitter that security forces had fired rubber bullets at demonstrators.

Rajab believes the handling of events will only prompt further demonstrations in the coming days.

"Unfortunately, the government doesn’t know how to deal with such events, but this is going to continue for the coming days until we get our demand," he said.

Shi’ites make up more than 70 percent of Bahrain’s population and say they are not given adequate benefits by the ruling Sunni minority.

They also accuse King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of issuing Bahraini passports to foreign Sunnis to reduce the Shi'ite majority.

Before Monday’s demonstrations, authorities in Bahrain announced they would give each family in the country about $2,600 (1,000 dinars). But many people said the handout was insufficient and decided to protest anyway.

The protests were scheduled for February 14 as it marks the anniversary of Bahrain’s 2002 constitution, which brought some democratic reforms such as an elected parliament.   

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid