News / Middle East

    Bahrain Protesters Set Up Camp at Site of Bloody Clashes

    Protesters retake Manama's Pearl Roundabout after the military withdraws, February 19, 2011
    Protesters retake Manama's Pearl Roundabout after the military withdraws, February 19, 2011

    Anti-government demonstrators in Bahrain have set up camp at a symbolic site in the capital, Manama, where violent clashes with security forces left a number of people dead over the past week. The military seized control of the Pearl Roundabout on Thursday, but pulled out two days later after escalating tensions within the Gulf nation and growing criticism from abroad.

    Protesters began converging on the Pearl Roundabout from all directions shortly after the military’s retreat on Saturday. Witnesses say police fired rubber bullets at the advancing crowd, but eventually stopped and left the scene.

    A small number of people were rushed to the hospital.

    The government later announced that the protesters would be allowed to stay at the site and reiterated a call for dialogue with all political parties.

    By nightfall, demonstrators at the Roundabout sang songs, burned candles and displayed banners calling for peace.  

    But as the crowd grew quieter in the early hours of Sunday morning, noise from a helicopter circling above could be more easily heard and demonstrators said it served as a reminder that their fight for a new government and more equality is far from over.
    One of them, Ali al-Khabbaz, said it would be foolish for protesters to claim a premature victory. He said he believes the government has only temporarily changed its rhetoric to please the international community.

    "The Middle East is absolutely changing, so they (government) are in circumstances to do some things just to avoid (the situation). It’s nothing for change; we don’t believe them at all. And we are not, in this day, ready to listen. We need to see change."

    Protests inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt began in Bahrain on February 14th.

    Originally, demonstrators were calling for greater equality, more rights and for the release of political prisoners. But after two bloody confrontations at the Pearl Roundabout, the protesters changed their focus to demands for a new government.

    Ali Abdullah, who was camping at the site on Sunday morning, said most people believe their demands will eventually be met.

    "The protests now from the 14th of February are different.  Before, a lot of people were afraid to say we do not want our government, but now after killing lots of people, no one is afraid, no one is staying home."

    An increasing number of Bahrain's Sunni Muslims have also begun to take part in the protests.

    The majority of demonstrators have been Shi’ites, who represent around two-thirds of Bahrain’s population and say they are not given the same rights as the country’s ruling Sunni minority.

    But according to Manama resident Ali Mohammed, people from all sectors of society are condemning the government’s use of violence.

    "People say Sunnis don’t support this protest. I’m a Sunni and I am here. My family is here, we are not scared, almost all my friends are here, we are not scared, we are all supporting."

    Bahrain is one of several Arab countries to witness political unrest since pro-democracy demonstrations led to regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt.

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora