Thursday, March 10, 2005
Demonstrations in Bahrain are just no fun if some arrests arn't thrown in with a pinch of tear gas for added spice. The extent of the police presence in today's protest demanding the release of the three Bahrainonline website moderators however was unprecedented. The security forces literally formed a wall face-to-face with the protestors that could have led to provocation and confrontation. You can watch a video of the demonstration here. And fotos courtesy of Montadayat.org here.
Quite frankly, I won't be subtle about by my disgust at the way the authorities use mercenaries from Beluchistan and Yemen in the security forces to come face-to-face with the country's citizens. Its stirs such anger and hatred within me and no doubt in most of the youth standing opposite them. How dare they bring foreigners and then use them against they're own people. My mind just cannot comrehend this fact and the pictures talk for themselves.
The entire Exhibition Road was closed off and the protestors (around 300) who managed to get to the Police Station were threatened and three people were arrested and allegedly held hostage forcing the Committee that organised this protest to call-it off and send the protestors home. One of those arrested and later released was Abbas Omran, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Detainees of Consciounce. Panic, fear, confusion. Is this really something you would want reported on Aljazeera and the international media? Are these arrests really worth the damage it is doing to Bahrain's reputation? Has anyone figured out Bahrain's Police Force demonstration-control policy? Someone, anyone?
All in all, I think the message of the protest got through as it seems not only were the authorities anticipating it but they took extensive pre-emptive action to what would have been a perfectly civilised peaceful protest. I think the Committee took the correct decision in dispersing the crowds as the security forces didn't seem to be messing around, and they're record of using force to clampdown on protestors isnt too good.
Lets just hope the three are released this Sunday for everyone's sake.
I'm sure Chan'ad will provide some photos soon and I look forward to hearing his account.