Writing from New York
Following the March 25 call from the February 14 Movement for national defiance of martial law and the Saudi occupation. Many Bahraini Shia villages staged non violent marches to protest the crackdown.
Bahrain Democracy protesters brave Saudi occupation and sandstorm in bid to “break the seige”
Photo by February 14 Media
With Time Magazine’s Karen Leigh asking the question “Has Bahrain’s Opposition Thrown In the Towel?”
The reality on the ground there seems to be quite the opposite. A more appropriate question, given yesterday’s events and the facts at hand would be, “How long can Saudi Arabia sustain the occupation of Bahrain and what will be left of the discredited Al Kalifa monarchy once the crutch of the Saudi security forces is kicked out from under it.”
Whilst Reuters reports Bahrain unrest brings economy to standstill and Bloomberg financial reports the junk status of the Monarchy’s credit rating. Large numbers of the oppressed Shia population and other supporters of human rights, democracy and social equality in the small island nation answered the call of the February 14 movement to “break the siege” as demonstrations were held in over a dozen villages and the capital of Manama up until, and in one case even after, the beginning of a massive sandstorm on Friday night.
As protesters evaded roving patrols, tanks and checkpoints set up by their Saudi occupiers, imported hired guns of the regime and the official Bahrain security forces, the political price of the Saudi occupation became increasingly clear.
Iraqi president Nuri al-Maliki was quoted by Reuters from a BBC interview saying
“We did not move to support the Shi’ites in Bahrain but we called for interference in Bahraini affairs to be stopped and don’t want to make it a sectarian issue. Because if it happens, it will be like a snowball, it will get bigger if it is ignored … The region may be drawn into a sectarian war.”
As demonstrations opposed to the Saudi occupation again broke out in Shia communities within the Saudi Kingdom and a small demonstration demanding the release of political prisoners was held Sunday in the capital of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. International protests against the abuse and killings of demonstrators and the intervention of the Gulf Council nations led by the Saudis have occurred in over 25 cities worldwide including most western capitals and other major cities as well as in Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Oman, Iran and India. While world political opinion sharply divides over the support by the Arab League and NATO countries choice to intervene in the civil war in Libya, the repression of the Bahrain democracy movement is almost universally condemned.
Beginning on Thursday the 24 of March and continuing through Friday evening. Demonstrations within Bahrain defied the state of martial law and the ban on protests in villages of Dar Kulaib, Shahrakan, Sanad, Malkyah, Demestan, Bori, Aali, Isa Town, Sitra, Bani Jamra, Duraz, Sanabis, Abu Saiba, Karranah, Sar, Samaheej, Tubli, Aker, Ma’ameer, Nuwaidrat, Karbabad and Karzakan.
Though the capital city of Manama was very heavily guarded preventing major resistance actions there, There was sporadic resistance even including a run toward the symbolic Pearl Roundabout from which protesters had been brutally driven on at least two prior occasions.
Though the heavy handed and fatal repression of the security forces has not abated and there were reports of numerous injuries from tear gas cannisters, rubber bullets and shot gun fire. There was only one death reported on Friday the 25th, that of an elderly man who died from the inhalation of tear gas. Subsequently a massive sand storm has swept over the nation and limited the activities of both the resistance and the security forces.