Arrests in Jidhafs after house raided

Said Yousif Almuhafda, head of monitoring at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, reports that “police raided a a house in Jidhafs and they arrested 16 protesters”. He shared four pictures:


Earlier in the day, a group of young men blocked a main road in Jidhafs with burning tyres, as part of the “Flame Volcanoes” anti-F1 campaign which had been initiated by the underground February 14th Youth Coalition.

There have also been reports of a 15 year old boy arrested in Sitra, and another young teenager arrested in Al Dair.

According to Said Yousif, several children who were arrested in Duraz, Sanabis, Musalla and Daih have been released after having been beaten.




Ticket burning protest in Sitra on eve of race

Footage of a protest in Sitra tonight where demonstrators burned an F1 ticket:

Protesters have been burning F1 tickets in opposition to the race for several weeks. Some examples from April 9th can be seen at this link.

Video roundup

A selection of amateur footage shot over the past 24 hours. The opposition Feb 14 Media site has additional photographs and videos.

Al Qadem – A family try and resist their son’s arrest. Police ultimately respond with tear gas (via @alaashehabi):

Sitra – Anti-F1 protesters on Friday evening say: “Your race is a crime” and “Your race will fail“. (via @MARYAMALKHAWAJA)

Footage of similar anti-F1 protests from Al Dair, Markuban and the capital Manama, where protesters also chanted: “Let your palaces hear, your prisons we do not fear.”

Sitra – Street battles Thursday night (via @alaashehabi)

Sitra – Birdshot bellets, fired by security forces, being removed from a man’s leg (via @alaashehabi)

Sitra – A young man sets fire to a car on the street on Thursday in broad daylight as a protest against the F1 race. VIDEO.

Barbar – Young men spray the English slogan “No F1 – Don’t race on our blood” on a wall.

Buri – Young men block the road on the main highway by Buri with burning tyres, then proceed to burn all the F1 chequered flags flying from posts along the road.

February 14th Coalition call for march to Pearl Square site on Saturday

Maryam AlKhawaja, Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, reports:

One protest video from Wadyan in Sitra tonight shows dozens of youths marching in “preparation and anticipation” for Saturdays march to what is now called Martyrs Square.

The February 14th Youth Coalition take their name from the date when the popular pro-democracy uprising began. Pearl Square (actually Pearl Roundabout, but renamed to echo Egypt’s Tahrir Square) was a central site for the protesters. In a recent article on the symbolic significance of Pearl Square, Amal Khalaf described the events:

On 14th February 2011 tens of thousands of people joined in a demonstration resulting in the Pearl Roundabout’s occupation. As traffic stood still, the international media came to witness the Gulf’s answer to the ‘Arab Spring’ and overnight, the government had lost control of it’s carefully constructed image of a ‘Business Friendly’ Bahrain, as news networks broadcast images of the Pearl Roundabout surrounded by protestors demanding reforms. A circle was named a square. The naming of the roundabout as Pearl Square or Midan al Lulu in the international media, though initially seen by many Bahrainis as a laughable and ignorant mistake, soon became appropriated by some protestors, who saw it as an underlining of the roundabout’s new figuration as a ‘civic square’ or midan.

The unprecedented occupation of the ‘square’ became front-page news internationally as Manama was brought to a halt. Within days, there were attempts by the state to quell the growing protests with tear gas and other threats of force culminating in a violent crackdown on the roundabout at 3am on 17th February 2011. Over four days, there were hundreds of injuries and seven civilian deaths. This harsh response surprised and radicalised many who had witnessed the events either first hand, in the international media, or through hundreds ofshaky, panicked mobile phone videos posted on YouTube. Yet despite this heavy-handed repression, many defiantly returned to the roundabout, now a site of trauma and renamed Martyr’s Square or Midan Al Shuhada by some.

After a month of protests, martial law was declared. The Bahrain-Saudi causeway rumbled with the sounds of hundreds of tanks of the Dr’a Al Jazeera or Peninsula Shield.  For the last time, the roundabout was cleared by force, main roads leading up to the roundabout were sealed off and villages were kettled by armoured vehicles. Days later, in a spectacularly reactionary move, Bahrain’s State TV replayed scenes that would within minutes circulate the digital mediasphere. As the country watched from their phones/homes/computer screens, the Pearl Monument exploded into a pile of bones over the ruins of an occupied ‘square’.

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Opposition protests across Bahrain

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”

Protest in Barbar

Protest in Barbar

Manama (the capital):

Sitra: “Democracy is our right”

Protest in Sitra

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?”

Protest in Sitra

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:

Simeon Kerr meets opposition activists in Sitra

Financial Times journalist Simeon Kerr writes about his recent time on the island of Sitra, often considered the heart of the revolution against Bahrain’s ruling monarchy:

The tiny island of Sitra is home to just 40,000 people out of Bahrain’s 1.2m population and most of its residents live in just seven villages. Its youth have joined with other rebels across the country under the umbrella of the February 14 movement, a radical opposition group.


Fourteen people from Sitra have died during the unrest of the past two years.

One of the most disturbing images of the revolt, the gaping skull of Ahmed Farhan who was shot at point blank range at Sitra’s petrol station in March 2011, looms large in the room in which Hussain is staying.“When we see brains splattered on the ground, how can we believe that this regime will reform?” he says.

The youths, who hang on Hussain’s every word as they gather on tatty mattresses in a modest home, seem in no mood for compromise. “The martyrs opened the road for us, they are our guide,” says Hussain, to murmurs of approval.

Of Sitra’s seven villages, perhaps the most rebellious is Mohazza. It was under siege for a week last December as the police blocked entrances in an effort to smoke out protesters.

Police raids are now a daily fixture of life in Mohazza, residents say. Families have installed metal doors to protect them from security force raids. “They can still break through, but at least we can hear them trying to get in,” says Hussain.

After the December siege, Hussain left Sitra. Now, he flits between friends’ houses as he goes into his 23rd month on the run since being summoned to a civil court for questioning for attacks on policemen. He has no intention of turning himself in.

“If I go back, they will force a confession on another crime, so I prefer to stay in hiding,” he says.

During a previous visit to a police station, he saw prisoners forced to recount eulogies to the king, while enduring beatings on the soles of their feet and being hanged upside down for hours.

“It was like a hospital, people were limping around, one man had his fingers cut,” he says.

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