The second anniversary of Bahrain’s popular uprising was marked by renewed violence, resulting in the death of a 16-year old boy. In the video, filmed right after the teenager’s death, a desperate protester can be seen risking his life to stand up to the police.
The victim’s name was Hussein al-Jaziri. According to opposition websites, the teenager was killed by fragmentary bullets. Overwhelmed by this death, which he had just witnessed, a protester walked up to police and screamed at them. The policemen tried to intimidate him, but seemed thrown off balance by the protester’s daring.
Bahrain, a primarily Shiite country (Shiites make up about 75% of the population), is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. Since February 2011, members of the Shiite community, who claim they are discriminated against, have frequently protested in the streets.
“Who can honestly believe that the government is sincerely open to dialogue when not a single prisoner has been freed?”
Said Yousif is a blogger and a member of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights.
On February 14, 2011, the revolution claimed its first victim in Daih. Two years later to the day, this sad milestone is marked anew by yet another death.
The opposition took to the streets all over the country to mark this anniversary. We tried to go to Pearl Square, a symbol of the uprising which is located at the center of Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Unfortunately, security forces were out in such force that it was impossible to get there.
There were dozens of protests throughout the country. They were violently repressed. The police doesn’t even fire any warning shots. Furthermore, they use arms that are illegal according to international conventions, like lead shots fired at short range at the protesters.
In addition to the protests, the call by the February 14 coalition [an opposition group] to go on strike was widely followed. Not only did stores close, but we also boycotted government offices. Activists also tried to block roads by burning tires.
Who can honestly believe that the government is sincerely open to dialogue when not a single prisoner has been freed? When doctors are still arrested for daring to treat protesters? When the number of deaths continues to rise? Opposition MPs have even resigned from parliament [11 out of 18 resigned in April 2011]. The government continues to turn a deaf ear. It only understands the language of violence.
[Editors Note: the Bahraini Minister of Communications, Samira Rajeb, claimed Thursday on FRANCE 24 that she had tried to start a dialogue with the opposition and that the police repression was simply in response to the protesters’ violence].