Opposition protests were held across Bahrain today. The following is a selection of images and videos from them shared on social media (click images for source):
Barbar: “No for bloody F1 in Bahrain”
Manama (the capital):
Sitra: “Democracy is our right”
The slogan in this banner refers to Ian Henderson, a British citizen who worked for several decades as an advisor to the Bahrain government. He died on Sunday. He was nicknamed “the Butcher of Bahrain” for his role in overseeing severe torture. Nurse Rula Saffar, seen in the center of the picture, tweeted shortly after it was taken: “We are in a licened protest! The riot police is attacking us right now in sitra! Why?”
And in the evening in Sitra, a protest with drums. (“Yascot Hamad” = “Down with [King] Hamad”):
Salmabad: Drummers lead protesters carrying anti-F1 banners:
Karbabad: Video of the protest ends with an activist burning an F1 ticket:
Bahrain vowed on Sunday to take “appropriate” security measures after a series of explosions raised security fears ahead of the kingdom’s premier international sporting event, the F1 Grand Prix motor race, scheduled for this weekend
The interior ministry said on Monday it would boost security after militants ignited a gas canister in a car in the central commercial district of the capital late on Sunday.
The blast outside the Bahrain Financial Harbour was accompanied by three other explosions on the outskirts of the capital Manama, with the February 14 youth movement claiming responsibility for the attacks, saying it was aimed at disrupting “activity in Manama’s financial centre in opposition to holding the Formula One race”, and pledging “more operations”.
Officials have downplayed the incident, which the interior ministry has not designated as a “terrorist incident”.
Bahrain “will ensure that appropriate security measures are taken during the F1 race and will take enough measures as in all other countries which host such international sporting events,” government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab said.
“The security situation in Bahrain is very reassuring,” she said, quoted by state news agency BNA.
The violence was condemned by several groups including opposition society Al-Wefaq and US-based NGOs Americans for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain and Human Rights First
Human Right First’s Brian Dooley said:
Thankfully no one was injured in these explosions, but there have been casualties in previous violent protests. If these bombings continue, there will inevitably be more injuries and deaths. Such attacks are wrong, increase the polarization in an already deeply divided society, and aren’t the way to achieve democracy in Bahrain.
The February 14 Youth Coalition, an underground opposition movement, are running a campaign against the Formula One which they call “Flame Volcanoes”.
They posted statement on their Facebook page about the Financial Harbour incident. Their English translation reads:
Urgent: after potting our trust in God, the process of “warning 3” is began amid financial Harbour junction in the capital Manama, in act of popular rejection of “formula 1” racing on our home land occupied by Saudis, including direct support to the bloodshed and continue support crimes against human rights.
A YouTube channel, created on March 28th, purports to show footage from the two previous “warnings”, where cars were driven to locations, doused with petrol, and set aflame.
Thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated near Manama on Saturday urging democratic reforms, part of a campaign of protests planned by the political opposition ahead of next week’s Formula One Grand Prix.
Police used tear gas and sound bombs to break up a gathering of several hundred people in Sanabes, witnesses said.
Further south, a 14-year-old boy was severely wounded in the face and two people arrested when police fired buckshot and tear gas at demonstrators, the main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq said on its website.
But in Bilad Al-Qadim, several thousand people demonstrated peacefully, chanting “no to dictatorship” and “down with the regime,” witnesses said.
Protest outside the UN house in Manama (Image © AFP, Mohammed al-Shaikh):
Footage from a rally uploaded by opposition society AlWefaq:
Al-Jazeera English reports:
Thousands of Bahrainis have demonstrated near the capital, Manama, urging democratic reforms, part of a series of protests planned by the political opposition ahead of next week’s Formula One Grand Prix.
Under the banner “Democracy is our right,” the crowds marched in the Shia area of Aali south of the capital, waving Bahraini flags and chanting anti-monarchy slogans on Friday.
Police stayed away from Friday’s demonstration as protesters denounced king Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa and Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, his uncle.
“You have no legitimacy,” they chanted.
Bahrain’s mainly-Shia opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq, organised the protest as part of demonstrations due to take place from April 12-22 to coincide with the April 19-22 Grand Prix.
Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the Al-Wefaq who was at the protest, said the action was intended to support “demands for democratic transition”.
“We do not want to hold up the race, but we are trying to benefit from the increased media presence,” he said.
Footage from the protest uploaded by Al-Wefaq: