News / Middle East

Thousands of Bahrainis March Peacefully for Democratic Reforms

Anti-government protesters holding Bahraini flags and signs saying "No To Official Terror" march during a rally organized by Bahrain's main opposition party Al Wefaq on Budaiya highway west of Manama, August 23, 3013.
Anti-government protesters holding Bahraini flags and signs saying "No To Official Terror" march during a rally organized by Bahrain's main opposition party Al Wefaq on Budaiya highway west of Manama, August 23, 3013.
Reuters
— Thousands of Bahrainis were allowed to march peacefully outside Manama calling for democratic reforms on Friday, 10 days after police cracked down on scattered protests organized by an online group inspired by recent demonstrations in Egypt.
 
Waving Bahrain's red and white flag and carrying pictures of political prisoners, the protesters denounced King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa and Prime Minister Sheik Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa. “Down with Hamad,” they chanted.
 
“We are here ... because we want freedom. We are used to oppression, and teargas and beatings,” said Hayat al-Abbar, a 38-year-old secretary who joined the march.
 
Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has been buffeted by bouts of unrest since February 2011 when an uprising led by the Shi'ite majority demanded the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty give up power.
 
The authorities crushed the revolt. An international inquiry commission said in a November 2011 report that 35 people had died during the uprising. The dead were mainly protesters but included five security personnel and seven foreigners.
 
“We seek our freedom and dignity and will never forget those who sacrificed their lives,” Friday's protesters chanted.
 
Police stayed away from the march, which was organized by the country's main opposition parties and took place west of the capital.
 
The Bahrain government in July passed a law banning all protests in the capital Manama. King Hamad also toughened penalties in anti-terrorism laws.
 
On Aug. 14, the authorities fired tear gas and birdshot to disperse demonstrators responding to an online call for street action by a new activist group calling itself Tamarrod, according to witnesses.
 
The group was inspired by the movement of the same name that helped muster massive protests against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi before the military removed him on July 3.
 
The Bahrain opposition demands a constitutional monarchy with a government chosen from within a democratically-elected parliament. It complains of discrimination against majority Shi'ites in areas such as employment and public services, which the government denies.
 
“Where are the jobs? ... We will not bow to anyone but god. We are not scared of anyone and I'm ready to die for my country,” said Abdelghani al-Marzouq, a 51-year-old engineer who was at the demonstration.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid