Folk fortsætter med at demonstrere for frihed og lighed mellem shiaer og sunnier:
Og sikkerhedsstyrkerne slår ned, godt hjulpet af de ca. 1000 saudiarabiske soldater, der er rykket ind i landet:
I mellemtiden erklærer USA, at de ikke betragter den saudiske indrykning som en invasion, og Hillary Clinton opfordrer igen “begge sider” til at udvise tilbageholdenhed.
Angry Arab viderebringer denne opsummering af de seneste begivenheder:
Pro-government thugs attack nurses at the university of Bahrain while mingling with riot police. They can be heard trashing the building (whereas the state television claims the protesters did it). When one of them attacks the nurses, he says “قاعدة اتعالجهم؟” or “she’s treating them?”
Two videos: 1) thugs inside the university; 2) thugs entering the university, freely mingling with cops. When spotted, the cameraman was shot at by the cops and attacked by a thug 14/3/2011
Video of police using live rounds: Same incident from a different angle:
A paper allegedly confiscated from a thug. it lists shi’a villages and block numbers. It has the Ministry of Interior logo on the top.
Official statement from the left-leaning National Democratic Action Society (Waad) about its headquarters being trashed by thugs
De helt bevidste drab på fredelige demonstranter torsdag og fredag medførte en så voldsom reaktion, at styret i Bahrain lørdag eftermiddag valgte at trække miltær og politi bort fra urolighederne. Kronprins Salman lover dialog og opfordrer folk til at gå hjem, men demonstranterne er vrede og nægter at gå hjem, før deres krav er efterlevet.
Mange har givet udtryk for skuffelse over den amerikanske regerings manglende eller i bedste fald særdeles valne støtte til demokratibevægelserne i den arabiske verden. Den megen tale om “stabilitet” er under alle omstændigheder en fornærmelse – har en undertrykt befolkning brug for stabilitet? Nej, de har brug for frihed, frihed og mere frihed, som den palæstinensiske journalist Naser Alsehli forklarede til et møde om situationen, jeg deltog i forleden.
En anden måde at sige det på er, at det ville være godt, hvis USA fra starten havde tilkendegivet en klar støtte til protesterne i Tunesien og Egypten – for USAs egen skyld! Folk i området er ligeglade og ønsker ikke længere USAs støtte, som Robert Fisk forklarer i The Independent:
“The Americans interfered in our country for 30 years under Mubarak, supporting his regime, arming his soldiers,” an Egyptian student told me in Tahrir Square last week. “Now we would be grateful if they stopped interfering on our side.” At the end of the week, I heard identical voices in Bahrain. “We are getting shot by American weapons fired by American-trained Bahraini soldiers with American-made tanks,” a medical orderly told me on Friday. “And now Obama wants to be on our side?”
Folk er allerede begyndt at tale om den “anden afkolonialisering” – 50-80 år efter, at den arabiske verden holdt op med at være vestlige kolonier af navn, holder de også op med at være det af gavn. Vestens og USAs indflydelse er måske ved at være forbi. Hverken krigen i Irak eller Obamas og Clintons fumlen har gjort det lettere for USA at hoppe på toget. Det er endnu alt for tidligt at sige, hvad det hele ender med, men herfra skal ønskes masser af held og lykke til de gode oprørere i Bahrain, der nu er begyndt at tage deres egen by tilbage. Måtte de få alle deres krav opfyldt.
Erklæring fra Amnesty International. Fik jeg nævnt, at regeringen i Bahrain er en af USAs allervigtigste allierede i Golfen, og at Hillary Clinton opfordrer til tilbageholdenhed “fra begge sider”? Ifølge Al Jazeeras live-dækning er mindst 66 sårede indlagt i dag, værre tilredt end ved gårsdagens demonstrationer. Antallet af døde og sårede kan forventes at stige.
Øjenvidner fortæller, at det både er hæren og politiet, der skyder på civilbefolkningen. Herunder endnu et klip, der viser nogle af resultaterne af disse skyderier:
Hærdede læger bryder grædende sammen over den rå politivold, og bøllerne går til angreb på frivillige læger og sygeplejersker, der forsøger at hjælpe de sårede. Imens opfordrer Hillary Clinton “begge sider” til at vise tilbageholdenhed.
Og hvad der det da, de væmmelige demonstranter forlanger, siden denne vold kan være berettiget? Mahmood Al-Yousif formulerer det i Bahrain-termer:
1. Bilateral Constitutional amendments which are binding to address the contentious current Constitution of 2002
2. The immediate release of political prisoners, some 450 are incarcerated many of whom are children under 18 years of age
3. Release and increase press freedoms, repeal Law 47/2002
4. Guard and increase personal freedoms and freedoms of expression
5. Investigate corruption and return stolen wealth into the state coffers
6. Repeal Law 56/2002 and bring torturers to justice
Kort fortalt – ytringsfrihed, forfatningsgaranterede menneskerettigheder, løsladelse af politiske fanger, stop for tortur, stop for korruption. Indtil videre har de ikke krævet kongens afgang. Men hvor længe varer det?
Update:Nicholas Kristof fra New York Times skriver, meget passende og som supplement både til Al Jazeeras dækning og Mahmoods opsummering af demonstranternes krav:
Bahrain’s leaders may whisper to American officials that the democracy protesters are fundamentalists inspired by Iran. That’s ridiculous. There’s no anti-Americanism in the protests — and if we favor “people power” in Iran, we should favor it in Bahrain as well.
Walk with protesters here, and their grievances seem eminently reasonable. One woman, Howra, beseeched me to write about her brother, Yasser Khalil, who she said was arrested in September at the age of 15 for vague political offenses. She showed me photos of Yasser injured by what she described as beatings by police.
Another woman, Hayat, said that she had been shot with rubber bullets twice this week. After hospitalization (which others confirmed), she painfully returned to the streets to continue to demand more democracy. “I will sacrifice my life if necessary so my children can have a better life,” she said.
America has important interests at stake in Bahrain — and important values.
And all space is left to the violence of a government that doesn’t seem to care about its citizens.
Dialogue is replaced with shotguns, tear gas and hundreds of riot police all exerting an inordinate amount of violence against unarmed civilians.
That was what faced unarmed sleeping civilians – men, women, children, old men and women – this pre-dawn residing in the Pearl Roundabout.
One would be forgiven for assuming that at least to those present there, and the families of the four more killed by riot-police shotguns at the roundabout this morning, not only the government has lost its credibility, but also the royal family.
Al Jazeera skriver, at mindst to demonstranter blev dræbt og mange såret. Og så bad den amerikanske regering i en erklæring i går “begge sider” vise tilbageholdenhed. Det er det samme, som de sagde i Egypten. Og det er da også for galt, at de fredelige demonstranter, der lå og sov med deres børn, ikke formåede at vise mere “tilbageholdenhed” …
Bahrain er som en lille og ganske velhavende østat i Golfen en helt anden slags land end Egypten. Men tag ikke fejl: Det ulmer, og utilfredsheden med det indspiste og korrupte kongedømme er, som andre steder i den arabiske verden, kraftigt forstærker af inspirationen fra Egypten og Tunesien.
Mandag angreb myndighederne en demonstration med tåregas og hagl, og en demonstrant blev dræbt. Da omkring ti tusind mennesker i går ville begrave ham, angreb politiet igen og dræbte endnu en demonstrant. Folk er vrede, og tusindvis af mennesker har nu slået sig ned i Manamas centrale “Pearl Roundabout”, som de har omdøbt til “Tahrir Roundabout”. Oprindelig krævede de blot reformer og en ny regering, men efter de to drab lyder kravet: “The People Want to Overthrow the Regime“, som Mahmood fortæller:
Arriving at the Salmaniya Medical Complex – the main health facility in the island and in which the mortuary is located, I noticed three police jeeps with some ten or so riot police milling about just opposite one of the entrances of the hospital nearest to the mortuary. I paid them no heed as I thought that they must’ve been there as a token force and they won’t dare do anything when the funeral cortege passes by in an hour or so. I carried on and went in to the mortuary and joined the several hundred mourners already present there, with a lot more pouring in as time went by. The atmosphere, though tense, remained peaceful with occasional political and religious chants. Once the body was brought out, the crowd galvanised and started moving in an orderly and peaceful fashion to the main exit. The plan was to bury Ali Abdulhadi Mushaimi in the nearby village of Jiddhaffs’ cemetery, just a few kilometers away.
But as we arrived at the gate to exit – and I was almost at the front of the mourners – the tear gas was fired at us and live bird-shot too was fired into the crowd, the latter was the ammunition whcih was used to kill Ali Mushaimi, the person we were carrying to his final resting place. I didn’t know it at the time, but another martyr was mowed down not more than ten meters ahead of me. Fadhel Almatrouk now joins the pantheon of fallen Bahraini martyrs. I suspect that he won’t be the last. The people of Bahrain have paid dear with their lives over decades fighting for their rights and will continue to do so until their rightful demands are met.
Unable to breath and faced with an inordinate use of force against unarmed civilians, the cortège driver decided to drive away from that exit and attempt to get out another exit on the other side of the hospital. People were scrambling about trying to protect themselves and show respect to the deceased at the same time; however, even that was not to be. The so called security forces encircled the protestors between the original exit and the one at the far end and started shooting tear gas at us inside the hospital grounds. Some protestors out of anger and frustration started lobbing stones at the police, but when I shouted at them to keep it peaceful with another phrase taken from our brothers in Tunisia and Egypt (سلميه سلميه) others took up the cry and prevented demonstrators from resorting to violence.
The tear gas was choking us. With eyes streaming and lungs on fire, we sped off after the cortege to continue to be faced by the riot police and their liberal use of tear gas. The avenues and lanes around the hospital were saturated with people walking away in the direction of the chosen grave yard, but coughing and trying to cope as much as possible with the poisonous atmosphere. People, though, were stopping and helping each other. Some producing tissues to help wipe away eyes and others sharing their water or offering a helping hand when needed. The atmosphere, though charged, was still determined. We are going to do good by the fallen martyr.
Several international journalists were in attendance, from Reuters to the New York Times – both of which interviewed me along with several people in the crowd. Wa’ad’s Ebrahim Sharif and MPs from the main Al-Wefaq political party were in attendance and they too were interviewed by probably all journalists present. The common denominator to most of the answers were the need for real reform of the government, the constitution, addressing corruption and attending to the people’s needs.
By the time the body was interred, people streamed out of the area in the direction of the capital Manama, specifically to the Pearl Roundabout, a main landmark celebrating the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but now rechristened by the protestors as “Bahrain’s Tahrir Roundabout” with people camping there under make-shift tents complete with their blankets and necessities fully intending to stay until their demands are met. From the latest pictures I’ve seen, there must be considerably more than ten thousand.
Bahrain er et lille land, og demonstranterne er oppe mod kolossale odds. Styret slår ned med jernhånd, og som overalt i regionen har regeringen forsøgt at bestikke borgerne med indrømmelser og økonomisk kompensation, og Bahrain har selv forsøgt sig med at sende en engangs-check på 2500 dollars til samtlige husstande.
Men det er ikke det, det handler om: Folk vil have deres frihed, også i Bahrain; eller, som Mahmood formulerer det: “They will not stop and they should not stop until basic demands are met: respect for human rights, better political and economic rights and proper freedoms of the press, expression and personal freedoms along with a representative government and parliament rather than the sham we currently have.” Måtte de få det snart.