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Bahrain Troops Attack Protesters Camp

From an ecstatic Associated Press:

Bahrain crushes protest camp, locks down capital

By Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press
February 17, 2011

MANAMA, Bahrain – Troops and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed.

Hours after the attack on Manama’s main Pearl Square, the military announced a ban on gatherings, saying on state TV that it had "key parts" of the capital under its control.

After several days of holding back, the island nation’s Sunni rulers unleashed a heavy crackdown, trying to stamp out the first anti-government upheaval to reach the Arab states of the Gulf since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. In the surprise assault, police tore down protesters’ tents, beating men and women inside and blasting some with shotgun sprays of birdshot

The Obama administration expressed alarm over the violent crackdown. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Bahrain’s foreign minister to register Washington’s "deep concern" and urge restraint. Similar criticism came from Britain and the European Union

Whose restraint are they urging? We thought that the Obama administration said that "this is how real democracy works."

The capital Manama was effectively shut down Thursday. For the first time in the crisis, tanks rolled into the streets and military checkpoints were set up as army patrols circulated. The Interior Ministry warned Bahrainis to stay off the streets. Banks and other key institutions did not open, and workers stayed home, unable or to afraid to pass through checkpoints to get to their jobs

The protesters’ demands have two main objectives: force the ruling Sunni monarchy to give up its control over top government posts and all critical decisions, and address deep grievances held by the country’s majority Shiites who make up 70 percent of Bahrain’s 500,000 citizens but claim they face systematic discrimination and poverty and are effectively blocked from key roles in public service and the military

ABC News said its correspondent, Miguel Marquez, was caught in the crowd and beaten by men with billy clubs, although he was not badly injured.

The violence killed four people, said hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media…

The protest movement’s next move is unclear.

Before the attack on the square, protesters had called for major rallies after Friday prayers. The reported deaths, however, could become a fresh rallying point. Thousands of mourners had turned out for the funeral processions of two other people killed in the protests earlier in the week.

After prayers Wednesday evening, a Shiite imam in the square had urged Bahrain’s youth not to back down

But it’s a secular uprising. Don’t worry.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, February 17th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Bahrain Troops Attack Protesters Camp”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Pass the popcorn, please.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    They so do love that whole martyr thing, don’t they?

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