Day of Rage (Bahrain)

Last updated
Day of Rage
Part of the Bahraini uprising
Bahrain crackdown Nuwaidrat 14 feb. 2011.jpg
Protesters fleeing after security forces fired tear gas on a march in Nuwaidrat.
Date14 February 2011
Location
26°01′39″N50°33′00″E / 26.02750°N 50.55000°E / 26.02750; 50.55000 Coordinates: 26°01′39″N50°33′00″E / 26.02750°N 50.55000°E / 26.02750; 50.55000
Caused by Alleged discrimination against Shias, [1] unemployment, slow pace of democratisation and Inspiration from concurrent regional protests. [1]
GoalsConstitutional monarchy, rewrite the Constitution, [2] :67 resignation of the prime minister [3] and an end to alleged economic and human rights violations. [1]
Methods Civil resistance and Demonstrations
Parties to the civil conflict
Protesters
Lead figures
Public Security Forces
Number
Over six thousand [2] :68
Hundreds [4]
Casualties and losses
One dead and thirty injured [5]
Three injured (according to Ministry of Interior) [6]

The "Day of Rage" (Arabic : يوم الغضبYawm al-Ghaḍab) is the name given by protesters in Bahrain to 14 February 2011, the first day of their national uprising. Inspired by the successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Bahraini youth organised protests using social media websites. They appealed to the Bahraini people "to take to the streets on Monday 14 February in a peaceful and orderly manner." The day had a symbolic value being the ninth and tenth anniversaries of the Constitution of 2002 and the National Action Charter respectively.

Contents

Some opposition parties supported the protests' plans, while others did not explicitly call for demonstration. However, they demanded deep reforms and changes similar to those by the youth. Before the start of protests, the government introduced a number of economic and political concessions. The protests started with a sit-in in solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 in the vicinity of the Egyptian embassy in the capital, Manama ten days before the 'Day of Rage'. On the eve of 14 February, security forces dispersed hundreds of protesters south of Manama.

On 14 February, thousands of Bahrainis participated in 55 marches in 25 locations throughout Bahrain. Protests were peaceful and protesters demanded deep reforms. The earliest demonstration started at 5:30 a.m. in Nuwaidrat, the last just minutes before midnight in the vicinity of Salmaniya hospital heading to the Pearl Roundabout. The largest was in Sitra island. Security forces responded to protests by firing tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and birdshot. More than 30 protesters were injured and one was killed by birdshot. The Bahraini Ministry of Interior said a number of security forces were injured after groups of protesters attacked them.

Background

Bahrain is a tiny island in the Persian Gulf that hosts the United States Naval Support Activity Bahrain, the home of the US Fifth Fleet; the US Department of Defense considers the location critical for its ability to counter Iranian military power in the region. [7] The Saudi Arabian government and other Gulf region governments strongly support the King of Bahrain. [8] Although government officials and media often accuse the opposition of being influenced by Iran, a government-appointed commission found no evidence supporting the claim. [9] Iran has historically claimed Bahrain as a province, [10] but the claim was dropped after a UN 1970 survey found that most Bahraini people preferred independence over Iranian control. [11]

Modern political history

Bahrainis have protested sporadically throughout the last decades demanding social, economic and political reforms. [2] :162 In the 1950s, following sectarian clashes, the National Union Committee was formed by reformists; it demanded an elected popular assembly and carried out protests and general strikes. In 1965 a month-long uprising broke out after hundreds of workers at Bahrain Petroleum Company were laid off. Bahrain became independent from Britain in 1971 and the country had its first parliamentary election in 1973. Two years later, the government proposed a law called the "State Security Law" giving police wide arresting powers and allowing individuals to be held in prison without trial for up to three years. The assembly rejected the law, prompting the late Amir to dissolve it and suspend the constitution. It was not until 2002 that Bahrain held any parliamentary elections, after protests and violence between 1994 and 2001. [12] [13] [14]

Economy

Despite its oil-rich Gulf neighbors, Bahrain's oil, discovered in 1932, [15] has "virtually dried up" making it poorer than other countries in its region. [16] In recent decades, Bahrain has moved towards banking and tourism [17] making it one of the most important financial hubs in the region; it has since held some of the top international rankings in economic freedom [18] and business-friendly countries, [19] making it the freest economy in the Middle East. [20] However, Bahrainis suffer from relative poverty. [21] Semi-official studies found that the poverty threshold (the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a given country. [22] ) in the country in 1995 was .د.ب  308. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said that by 2007 it had increased to .د.ب  400 at least, [23] putting half of Bahrainis under the poverty line. [24] In 2008, the government rejected the UN's conclusion that 2% of Bahrainis lived in "slum-like conditions". [25] Poor families receive monthly financial support. [26] In 2007, CNN produced a documentary titled "Poverty in Bahrain", [27] [28] which was criticized by pro-government newspaper, Gulf Daily News . [29] Al Jazeera produced a similar documentary in 2010. [30]

The unemployment rate in Bahrain is among the highest in GCC countries. [31] Sources close to the government estimated it between 3.7% [32] and 5.4%, [33] while other sources said it was as high as 15%. [34] [35] Unemployed was especially widespread among youth [34] and the Shia community. [2] :35 Bahrain also suffers from a "housing problem" [36] with the number of housing applications reaching about 53,000 in 2010. [37] These conditions prompted the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights to consider housing one of the most important problems in Bahrain. [38]

Human rights

Human rights in Bahrain improved after the government introduced reform plans in 1999–2002 but declined again in subsequent years. Between 2007 and 2011 Bahrain's international rankings fell 21 places from number 123 to 144 on the Democracy Index, as ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. [39] [40] The Freedom in the World index on political freedom classified Bahrain as "Not Free" in 2010–2011. [41] A Freedom House "Freedom on the Net" survey classified "Net status" as "Not free" and noted that more than 1,000 websites were blocked in Bahrain. [42] :1 The Press Freedom Index (by Reporters Without Borders) declined significantly: in 2002 Bahrain was ranked number 67 [43] and by 2010 it had fallen to number 144. [44] The Freedom of the Press report (by Freedom House) classified Bahrain in 2011 as "Not Free". [45] Human Rights Watch has described Bahrain's record on human rights as "dismal", and having "deteriorated sharply in the latter half of 2010". [46]

Torture

During the period between 1975 and 1999 known as the "State Security Law Era", the Bahraini government frequently used torture, which resulted in a number of deaths. [47] [48] After the Emir Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa succeeded his father Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa in 1999, reports of torture declined dramatically and conditions of detention improved. [49] However Royal Decree 56 of 2002 gave effective immunity to all those accused of torture during the uprising in the 1990s and before (including notorious figures such as Ian Henderson [50] and Adel Flaifel. [51] ). Towards the end of 2007 the government began employing torture again and by 2010 its use had become common again. [52]

Shia grievances

The Shia majority ruled by the Sunni Al khalifa family since the eighteenth century have long complained of what they call systemic discrimination. [53] They are blocked from serving in important political and military posts [54] [55] and the government has reportedly naturalized Sunnis originally from Pakistan and Syria in what Shia say is an attempt to increase the percentage of Sunnis in the population. [56] [57]

According to Khalil al-Marzooq of Al Wefaq, the number of those granted Bahraini nationality between 2001 and 2008 is 68 thousand. [58] According to al-Marzooq, this number was calculated using official estimates by subtracting the population in 2001 (405,000) and natural increase (65,000) from the population in 2008 (537,000). [58] In a rally against "political naturalization", Sunni opposition activist Ibrahim Sharif estimated that 100,000 were naturalized by 2010 and thus comprised 20% of Bahraini citizens. [59] The government rejected accusations of undertaking any "sectarian naturalization policy". [57] Shia grievances were exacerbated when in 2006 Salah Al Bandar, then an adviser to the Cabinet Affairs Ministry, revealed an alleged political conspiracy aiming to disenfranchise and marginalize Shias, who comprise about 60% of the population. [60]

2010 crackdown

In August 2010, authorities launched a two-month-long crackdown, referred to as the Manama incident, arresting hundreds of opposition activists, most of whom were members of the Shia organizations Haq Movement and Al Wafa' Islamic party, in addition to human rights activists. [61] The arrestees were accused of forming a "terrorist network" aiming to overthrow the government. [62] However, a month later Al Wefaq opposition party, which was not targeted by the crackdown, won a plurality in the parliamentary election. [61] [62]

Calls for a revolution

A Facebook page calling for a popular revolution on 14 February. Facebook page calling for a revolution in Bahrain.png
A Facebook page calling for a popular revolution on 14 February.

Inspired by the successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, [1] opposition activists began in January to post on a large scale to the social media websites Facebook and Twitter and online forums, and to send e-mails and text messages with calls to stage major pro-democracy protests. [2] :65 [53] [63] The Bahraini government blocked a Facebook page which had 14,000 "likes" calling for a revolution and a "day of rage" on 14 February; [53] [64] however the "likes" had risen to 22,000 few days later. [65] Another online group called "The Youth of the February 14th Revolution" described itself as "unaffiliated with any political movement or organisation" and rejected any "religious, sectarian or ideological bases" for their demands. They issued a statement listing a number of demands and steps it said were unavoidable in order to achieve "change and radical reforms". [2] :65

Bahraini youths described their plans as an appeal for Bahrainis "to take to the streets on Monday 14 February in a peaceful and orderly manner in order to rewrite the constitution and to establish a body with a full popular mandate to investigate and hold to account economic, political and social violations, including stolen public wealth, political naturalisation, arrests, torture and other oppressive security measures, [and] institutional and economic corruption." [13] One of the main demands was resignation of the king's uncle, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa from his post as prime minister. [3] He had been the unelected prime minister of Bahrain since 1971, making him the world's longest serving prime minister. [66]

The day had a symbolic value; [53] it was the tenth anniversary of a referendum in favor of the National Action Charter which had promised to introduce democratic reforms following the 1990s uprising. It was also the ninth anniversary of the Constitution of 2002, which had made opposition feel "betrayed" by the king. [67] The Constitution had brought some promised reforms, such as an elected parliament; however opposition activists said it went back on reform plans, giving the king the power to appoint half the parliamentary seats and withholding power from parliament to elect the prime minister. [2] :67

Unregistered opposition parties such as Haq Movement and Bahrain Freedom Movement supported the plans. The National Democratic Action Society only announced a day before the protests that it supported "the principle of the right of the youth to demonstrate peacefully". Other opposition groups including Al Wefaq, Bahrain's main opposition party, did not explicitly call for or support protests; however Al Wefaq leader Ali Salman did demand political reforms. [2] :66

Events leading to the protests

Bahrainis rallying in support of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 on 4 February. Bahrain protest Egypt embassy.jpg
Bahrainis rallying in support of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 on 4 February.

A few weeks before the protests, the Cabinet of Bahrain made a number of concessions, including increasing social spending and offering to free some of the minors arrested in the Manama incident in August. [68] On 4 February, several hundred Bahrainis gathered in front of the Egyptian embassy in Manama to express support for anti-government protesters there. [69] According to The Wall Street Journal , this was "one of the first such gatherings to be held in the oil-rich Persian Gulf states." [69] At the gathering, Ibrahim Sharif, the secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), called for "local reform." [69]

On 11 February, hundreds of Bahrainis and Egyptians took to the streets near the Egyptian embassy in Manama to celebrate the fall of Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak following the successful Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Security forces reacted swiftly to contain the crowd by setting a number of roadblocks. [53] In the Khutbah preceding Friday prayer, Shiekh Isa Qassim, a leading Shia cleric, said "the winds of change in the Arab world [are] unstoppable". He demanded an end to torture and discrimination, the release of political activists and a rewriting of the constitution. [2] :67

Appearing on the state media, king Hamad announced that each family would be given 1,000 Bahraini Dinars ($2,650) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the National Action Charter referendum. Agence France-Presse linked payments to the 14 February demonstration plans. [70]

The next day, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights sent an open letter to the king urging him to avoid a "worst-case scenario" by introducing a wide range of reforms, including "releasing more than 450 detainees including [Bahraini] human rights defenders, religious figures and more than 110 children, dissolv[ing] the security apparatus and prosecut[ing] its official[s] responsible [for] violations". [53] [71] [72] At night, residents of Jidhafs held a public dinner banquet to celebrate the fall of Egypt's president. [73]

On 13 February, authorities set up a number of checkpoints and increased the presence of security forces in key locations such as shopping malls. [53] Al Jazeera interpreted the move as "a clear warning against holding Monday's [14 February] rally". [53] At night, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on a small group of youth who organized a protest in Karzakan after a wedding ceremony. According to a photographer working for the Associated Press , several people were injured and others suffered from the effects of tear gas. [53] Bahrain's Ministry of Interior said that about 100 individuals who gathered in an unauthorized rally in the village attacked security forces injuring three policemen and in response police fired two rubber bullets, one of which rebounded from the ground, injuring a protester. [6] Small protests and clashes occurred in other locations as well, such as Sabah Al Salem, Sitra, Bani Jamra and Tashan, leading to minor injuries among both protesters and security forces. [2] :68

14 February

Police presence in Bab Al Bahrain. Protests in Bahrain - Flickr - Al Jazeera English (1).jpg
Police presence in Bab Al Bahrain.

Over 6,000 people participated in 55 [2] :68–9, 70 demonstrations and political rallies in 25 different locations throughout Bahrain. [5] Helicopters hovered over areas where marches were due to take place [1] and the presence of security forces was heavy in a number of key locations such as the Central Business District, shopping malls and Bab Al Bahrain. The traffic directorate closed a number of roads such as those leading to Pearl Roundabout, Dana mall, Al Daih and parts of Budaiya highway in order to anticipate any non-permitted protests. Throughout the day and especially in the evening, Internet speed was much slower than usual. [5] According to Bikya Masr blog, "many people" linked this to government attempts to contain the protests. [74]

The demonstrators demanded the release of detained protesters, socio-economic and political reforms and constitutional monarchy. Protesters sought no permits, although it is required by Bahraini law. [1] [2] :68–9 The Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat reported that protests were peaceful and that demonstrators did not throw stones at security forces or burn tires in streets as they used to in the previous protests. [5]

Police dispersed demonstrations such as this one in Diraz.

The earliest demonstration was recorded at 05:30 in the mainly Shia village of Nuwaidrat, where 300 people are said to have participated. [2] :68–9 The rally was led by Shia political activist Abdulwahhab Hussain. [75] Police dispersed this rally, resulting in some injuries, and the hospitalization of one demonstrator. Police continued to disperse rallies throughout the day with tear gas, rubber bullets, and shotguns, causing additional injuries, and hospitalizing three more demonstrators. [2] :68

One major demonstration took place in the Shi'a island of Sitra, where several thousand men, women, and children took to the streets. According to witnesses interviewed by Physicians for Human Rights, hundreds of fully armed riot police arrived on the scene and immediately began firing tear gas and sound grenades into the crowds. They then fired rubber bullets into the unarmed crowd, aiming at people in the front line who had sat down in the street in protest. [4]

In Sanabis, security forces fled the location after protesters approached them, leaving one of their vehicles behind. Protesters attached the flag of Bahrain to the vehicle instead of damaging or burning it. In Sehla, hundreds held maghrib prayer in the streets after staging a march. In Bilad Al Qadeem, protesters held a sit-in at afternoon and started marching at evening, after which security forces intervened to disperse them. In Karzakan, protesters staged a march that was joined by another march starting in Dumistan and ended peacefully. [5] In Duraz security forces fired tear gas on 100 protesters, breaking up their rally. [76]

On its Twitter account, the Ministry of Interior said that six masked individuals participating in a march in Jidhafs attacked security forces. They wrote that police responded, injuring the legs and back of one of the attackers. [5]

Casualties

Police fired birdshot at Ali Mushaima's back from close range. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima at morgue 2.jpg
Police fired birdshot at Ali Mushaima's back from close range.

In the evening of 14 February, Ali Mushaima died from police shotgun wounds to his back at close range. The government says that Ali was part of a group of 800 protesters that attacked eight policemen with rocks and metal rods. The government asserts that the police exhausted their supply of tear gas and rubber bullets in a failed attempt to disperse the crowd, and resorted to the use of shotguns. Witnesses say that there were no demonstrations at the time Ali was shot. They say Ali was seen walking with a group of officers who were pointing their guns at him. As Ali walked away, he was shot in the back by one of the officers. [2] :69, 229 The Ministry of Interior expressed its regret at the incident and announced that the death would be investigated. [1]

Later, several hundred demonstrators congregated in the car park of the hospital where Ali was taken. They staged a protest outside the hospital heading to the Pearl Roundabout; meanwhile another march was heading to the same location from King Faisal Highway. Security forces intervened, injuring some protesters and arresting 24. [2] :69 By the end of the day, more than 30 protesters had been injured, mostly by birdshot and rubber bullets. [5]

Aftermath

Protesters occupying Pearl Roundabout following the funeral procession for Ali Mushaima. Protesters gathering in Pearl roundabout.jpg
Protesters occupying Pearl Roundabout following the funeral procession for Ali Mushaima.

The following day another man, [Fadhel Al-Matrook, was killed by police during the funeral of Mushaima. [77] Protesters then marched and occupied the Pearl Roundabout without police interference. [2] :71 Thousands continued camping at the site for another day. [78] On 17 February, in what became known as Bloody Thursday, [79] [80] [81] authorities launched a pre-dawn raid and cleared the site, killing four protesters and injuring hundreds. [2] :230–2 [82] [83] Protesters took refuge in Salmaniya Medical Complex where many of them demanded the fall of the regime. [84] [85] [86] Defying the government ban on gatherings, [87] on the evening of 18 February, hundreds of protesters marched toward the Pearl Roundabout, now under the control of the army. [88] When protesters neared the site, the army opened fire, killing Abdulredha Buhmaid and injuring dozens of others. [89] [90]

Troops withdrew from the Pearl Roundabout on 19 February, and protesters reestablished their camps there. [91] [92] The crown prince assured protesters that they would be allowed to camp at the roundabout and that he would lead a national dialogue. [2] :83 Protests involving up to one-fifth of the population continued over the next month [93] [94] [95] until the government called in Gulf Cooperation Council troops and police and declared a three-month state of emergency. [96] Despite the police crackdown that followed, [97] [98] smaller-scale protests and clashes continued, mostly outside Manama's business districts. [99] [100] By April 2012, more than 80 people had died during the uprising. [101] As of December 2012, protests are ongoing. [102]

Death of Fadhel Al-Matrook

Fadhel Salman Ali Al-Matrook
Fadhel Al-Matrook body at Salmaniya morgue.jpg
Fadhel Al-Matrook's body at Salmaniya morgue
Born
فاضل سلمان علي المتروك

(1979-11-08)November 8, 1979
DiedFebruary 15, 2011(2011-02-15) (aged 31)
Salmaniya, Bahrain
Cause of death Gunshot wounds from birdshot
Resting place Mahooz, Bahrain
Nationality Bahraini
Known for 2011 Bahraini uprising

Fadhel Salman Ali Salman Al-Matrook (Arabic : فاضل سلمان علي سلمان المتروك) (8 November 1979 15 February 2011) was a 31-year-old Bahraini who died in hospital on 15 February 2011 after reportedly being hit in the back and chest by bird pellet gunshots (a type of shotgun shell) fired from short distance by Bahraini security forces during the Bahraini uprising of 2011. Bahrain king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa announced in a rare televised speech that the deaths of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima and Fadhel Al-Matrook would be investigated. [103] However, results of the investigation have not been revealed as of November 2011. [104]

As part of a string of protests that occurred across the Arab World following the self-immolation and eventual death of Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia, the mostly Shia population of Bahrain took to the streets demanding greater freedoms. [105] Al Jazeera reported that a protest was planned for 14 February, [106] just a few months after the controversial 2010 election. [107]

On 14 February (referred to by protesters as Day of Rage), clashes were reported from parts of Bahrain. Helicopters circled over Manama, where protesters were expected to gather in the afternoon; there was also a greater police presence in Shia villages. At least fourteen people were injured in clashes overnight and with police having fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in the village of Nuwaidrat, south west of Bahrain. The marchers were calling for the release detainees who were arrested during earlier protests. [105]

Al-Matrook's father died when he was 8. He was married with two children, a 5-year-old son, Hussain and a 2-year-old daughter, Ruqayya. He was unemployed and had been arrested once before, his brother reported. Al-Matrook lived in his father's house; his housing request goes back seven years before his death. [108]

Police fired birdshot from close range at Al-Matrook's back. Fadhel Al-Matrook body at Salmaniya morgue 3.jpg
Police fired birdshot from close range at Al-Matrook's back.

On 15 February, funeral procession of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, who died the previous day took place. The march was authorized. [109] It was organized that the body be taken from the Salmaniya medical complex and then carried to the cemetery in Al Daih for burial. [110] According to eyewitnesses, more than 2,000 were starting to gather by the hospital gates in order to take part in the procession, [103] when riot police used tear gas and shotguns to disperse the crowd. One man, Fadhel Al-Matrook, died in hospital after getting shot by shotgun pellets. [77] Al-Matrook's brother, who was near him, told the local newspaper Al Wasat that his brother was shot from a very short distance, 2 to 5 meters away, which caused internal bleeding and punctured his lungs. [108] According to witnesses, at least 25 were injured as a result of police rubber bullets, tear gas and shotgun. [103]

An eyewitness who was injured called Shaker Mohammed Abdulhussain told Al Wasat that police cars were parked near Salmaniya Medical Complex gates where the funeral was supposed to move out from. To prevent clashes between mourners and riot police, mourners formed a human chain in which Shaker was standing next to Al-Matrook. There were two people speaking to riot police telling them that the youth will ensure that nothing would go wrong. Then a man wearing full black came from outside the funeral and threw a stone at riot police, who then started firing rubber bullets and bird pellet gunshot indiscriminately. While Shaker and Al-Matrook were trying to help a man who was injured by rubber bullets to his leg, they were shot with bird pellet gunshot. Shaker was injured in his chest and other parts in the body, while Al-Matrook was injured in his back and died in the hospital. [109]

The Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that during the funeral of Ali Mushaima some mourners clashed with four police patrols which were parked in the funeral's course. They explained that clashes were because one patrol was not working and three patrols went to evacuate it. During the clash one man named Fadhel Al-Martook was injured and died later in a hospital. [111]

On February 16, thousands of Bahrainis took part in the funeral procession of Al-Matrook while others were camping in Pearl Roundabout for the second day in a row. The funeral began in Salmaniya medical complex and ended in Mahooz graveyard. Al-Matrook's coffin was covered with Bahrain's flag. The funeral began at 8:30 am, and mourners that took part carried pictures for Al-Matrook, Bahrain flags, and black flags which represent grief. They chanted "No god but Allah, the martyr is loved by Allah" and "No Sunni, No Shia, all of us are one united Bahrain". [112]

The final funeral procession for Al-Matrook was on February 18, which took part in Mahooz and ended in Mahooz graveyard. Mourners carried Bahrain flags as well as black flags. They chanted "we scarify our blood and soul for you martyr" and "we scarify our blood and soul for you Bahrain". One of the mourners carried flowers. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Mansi gave a speech at the end of the funeral procession. [113]

Portrait in memorial of Fadhel al-Matrook A painting for Fadhel al-Matrook.JPG
Portrait in memorial of Fadhel al-Matrook

Local and international reactions

In a rare national TV address on Tuesday, February 15, King Hamad expressed regret, offered his "deep condolences" to the families of those killed and announced a ministerial probe into the events. [103] He also promised reforms including a reduction in government restrictions of the Internet and other media. [3] In reference to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, Hussain al-Rumeihy, a member of Parliament, said on 15 February it was wrong for protesters to copy the events of other Arab countries, because the situation in Bahrain is different. [109] The following day, Prime minister Khalifa ibn Salman Al Khalifa praised the king's speech and shared his regret and condolences. [114]

On the other hand, Al Wefaq, the country's largest opposition party suspended their participation in the Parliament on 15 February and threatened to resign, in protest of what it called "the brutal practices of security forces". [116] The same day, other opposition parties protested what they called the government's "excessive" reaction to protests, and the Progressive Democratic Tribune called for formation of a national body to unite Shia and Sunna like the National Union Committee had done in the 1950s. [109] The Bahrain Human Rights Society criticized the government response to protests of 14th and 15th, accusing it of censorship and non-compliance with international covenants that it had signed. [109]

Internationally, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 15 February, called the government of Bahrain to stop what she called "the excessive use of force" against protesters and to release protest-related prisoners. [117] United States State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the US was "very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests" of the 14th and 15th. [3] In a 15 February appeal, Amnesty International called the Bahraini authorities to stop using what it called "excessive force" against protesters, to put all security forces' members who had used excessive force on trial and "to respect and protect the right of freedom expression, movement and assembly in Bahrain". [77]

Related Research Articles

The 1990s uprising in Bahrain also known as the uprising of dignity was an uprising in Bahrain between 1994 and 1999 in which leftists, liberals and Islamists joined forces to demand democratic reforms. The uprising caused approximately forty deaths and ended after Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa became the Emir of Bahrain in 1999 and a referendum on 14–15 February 2001 massively supported the National Action Charter. The uprising resulted in the deaths of around 40 civilians and at least one Bahraini soldier.

In the 2000s in Bahrain the government instituted political reforms and relaxed economic controls.

Bahraini uprising of 2011 protests in Bahrain that started on February 14, 2011

The Bahraini uprising of 2011 was a series of anti-government protests in Bahrain led by the Shia-dominant and some sunni minority Bahraini Opposition from 2011 until 2014. The protests were inspired by the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring and 2011–12 Iranian protests and escalated to daily clashes after the Bahraini government repressed the revolt with the support of Gulf Cooperation Council and Peninsula Shield Force. The Bahraini protests were a series of demonstrations, amounting to a sustained campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and later some violent resistance in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain. As part of the revolutionary wave of protests in the Middle East and North Africa following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, the Bahraini protests were initially aimed at achieving greater political freedom and equality for the majority Shia population, and expanded to a call to end the monarchy of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa following a deadly night raid on 17 February 2011 against protesters at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, known locally as Bloody Thursday.

The international reactions to the Bahraini uprising of 2011 include responses by supranational organisations, non-governmental organisations, media organisations, and both the governments and civil populaces, like of fellow sovereign states to the protests and uprising in Bahrain during the Arab Spring. The small island nation's territorial position in the Persian Gulf not only makes it a key contending regional power but also determines its geostrategic position as a buffer between the Arab World and Iran. Hence, the overlap in trolls and geostrategic implications aid in explaining international responses to the uprising in Bahrain. Accordingly, as a proxy state between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Bahrain's domestic politics is both wittingly and unavoidably shaped by regional forces and variables that determine the country's response to internal and external pressures.

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Death of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima Died during 2011–2012 Bahraini uprising

Ali Abdulhadi Saleh Jafar Mushaima was a 21-year-old Bahraini who on Monday 14 February 2011, the "Bahraini Day of Rage", became the first fatality of the Bahraini Uprising. He died on his way to hospital from injuries he received when he was hit in the back by birdshot pellets fired from close range by security forces during the Bahraini uprising (2011–present). According to Nabeel Rajab, head of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Mushaima was participating in a protest in Al Daih, in Manama's outskirt, when he was shot.

Ali Hasan Alqudaihi is an 11-year-old Bahraini boy who was arrested for allegedly participating in an "illegal" protest during his country's national uprising. Alqudaishi was arrested on 14 May 2012 and released without bail during a trial about one month later. On 5 July the court handed verdict allowing him to stay home while a social worker monitored him for a year. However, charges were not dropped.

Many human rights reports were published about the Bahraini uprising of 2011, a campaign of protests, and civil disobedience in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain that is considered part of the revolutionary wave of protests dubbed the Arab Spring. At least 14 human rights reports were issued by 18 different parties: Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Doctors Without Borders, Physicians for Human Rights, Human Rights First, Independent Irish figures, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Without Frontiers, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, Bahrain Human Rights Society, Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Front Line Defenders, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, International Media Support and the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International.

Bahrain Bloody Thursday name given by protesters in Bahrain to the fourth day of their national uprising

Bahrain's Bloody Thursday is the name given by protesters in Bahrain to 17 February 2011, the fourth day of their national uprising. Bahrain security forces launched a pre-dawn raid to clear Pearl Roundabout in Manama of the protesters camped there, most of whom were at the time asleep in tents; four were killed and about 300 injured. The event led some to demand even more political reform than they had been before, calling for an end to the reign of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Casualties of the Bahraini uprising of 2011 and its aftermath

As of 15 March 2013, the Bahraini uprising of 2011 and its aftermath resulted in 122 deaths. The number of injuries is hard to determine due to government clamp-down on hospitals and medical personnel. The last accurate estimate for injuries is back to 16 March 2011 and sits at about 2708. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry concluded that many detainees were subjected to torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse while in custody, five of whom returned dead bodies. The BICI report finds the government responsible for 20 deaths. Opposition activists say that the current number is 88 including 43 who allegedly died as a result of excessive use of tear gas.

Mohamed Yousif Rashid Albuflasa is a Bahraini poet, writer, former independent candidate for the Bahraini Parliament in the 2010 Parliamentary elections and a member of the Bahraini youth parliament. He belongs to the Albuflasa Bedouin clan. Formerly a Bahrain Defence Force officer, he is now employed at the court of Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

The following is a timeline of events that followed the Bahraini uprising of 2011 from April to June 2011. This phase included continued crackdown, lifting of the state of emergency and return of large protests.

The following is an incomplete timeline of events that followed the Bahraini uprising of 2011 from July to December 2011. This phase saw many popular protests, escalation in violence and the establishment of an independent government commission to look into the previous events.

Timeline of the Bahraini uprising of 2011

The following is a timeline of the Bahraini uprising from February to March 2011, beginning with the start of protests on February 2011 and including the Saudi-backed crackdown from 15 March.

The following is an incomplete timeline of events that followed the Bahraini uprising of 2011 from January to August 2012. This phase saw the first anniversary protest of the Bahraini uprising, the largest demonstrations in the history, and the escalation of violent clashes between youths and security forces.

March of loyalty to martyrs

The March of loyalty to martyrs was a protest on 22 February 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Tens of thousands participated in the protest, one of the largest in the Bahraini uprising. Named after the seven victims killed by police and army forces during previous protests, the march filled the space between Bahrain mall and Pearl Roundabout. Protesters carried Bahrain's flag and demanded the fall of the government, implementation of a constitutional monarchy and other reforms, with some of them also demanding the end of the regime.

Death of Abdulredha Buhmaid Died during 2011–2012 Bahraini uprising

Abdulredha Mohamed Hasan Buhmaid was a 28-year-old Bahraini protester shot by a live bullet in the head on 18 February 2011. He died in hospital three days later, the seventh death in the Bahraini uprising.

Bahrain Thirteen

The Bahrain Thirteen are thirteen Bahraini opposition leaders, rights activists, bloggers and Shia clerics arrested between 17 March and 9 April 2011 in connection with their role in the national uprising. In June 2011, they were tried by a special military court, the National Safety Court, and convicted of "setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution"; they received sentences ranging from two years to life in prison. A military appeal court upheld the sentences in September. The trial was "one of the most prominent" before the National Safety Court. A retrial in a civilian court was held in April 2012 but the accused were not released from prison. The sentences were upheld again on 4 September 2012. On 7 January 2013, the defendants lost their last chance of appeal when the Court of Cassation, Bahrain's top court upheld the sentences.

The following is an incomplete timeline of events that followed the Bahraini uprising of 2011 from September 2012 onward.

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