Unrest continues to filter across the Middle East. The Guardian reports that five protesters in Bahrain were killed when police raided their camp on the Pearl roundabout. Fourteen are reported dead across several cities in Libya, where protesters have made today a ‘Day of Rage.’ And in Yemen, demonstrators clashed with security forces.
Five Killed in Bahrain
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Bahraini security forces raided the camp protesters had set up in the Pearl roundabout in Manama, the country’s capital. Five are reported killed, with reports of people, including one child, sustaining ‘brutal injuries.’ Police are said to be targeting medics and doctors and ambulances were prevented from accessing the roundabout where the protesters have gathered.
The government has now banned any protests. Gulf Arab foreign ministers are to meet tonight to discuss the unrest which, it seems, authorities are trying to blame on the protesters, as the state-owned Bahrain TV has been ‘broadcasting pictures of weapons supposedly seized from protesters at the roundabout.’
The BBC reports that that capital has been ‘effectively shut down, with tanks, army patrols and military checkpoints on key streets and helicopters deployed overhead.’ Barbed wire has been put up around the roads leading to Pearl Square, where the protests had been centered. ABC News reports that its correspondent Miguel Marquez was beaten ‘by men with billy clubs’ in Manama while he was on the phone to ABC News in New York. Go to ABCNews for a video; here is a transcript of Marquez’s words:
“There was a canister that looked like — No! No! No! Hey! I’m a journalist here!” he yelled. “I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! … I’m hit. “I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs,” Marquez said later. “I’m now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings.”
“I mean, these people are not screwing around,” he added. “They’re going to clear that square, tonight, ahead of any protest on Friday. The government clearly does not want this to get any bigger.”
Demonstrators say that there was no warning about the raid. The BBC reports about ‘angry scenes outside Manama’s main hospital, Salmaniya, as hundreds of people gathered, some answering calls to donate blood and others defacing images of the Bahraini royal family.’ Protesters are calling for the release of political prisoners to be released, more jobs and housing, and the removal of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has been in office for 40 years. Bahrain is a key ally of the US and of the UK and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Below is a video of the violence against the protesters in Bahrain.
Libya’s ‘Day of Rage’
One report in the Guardian says that police in Benghazi are using live ammunition against the protesters. 14 are reported killed across several cities in Libya and some 14 activists, writers, and protests detained. Scores of supports of Muammar Gaddafi have gathered in the country’s capital of Tripoli to counter the protesters. And the authorities are reported to be using the tools of social media to send out pro-Gaddafi messages:
Gaddafi’s regime is reportedly sending out text messages to Libyans in an attempt to quell protests, in a similar move to that seen in Egypt. “Libyan regime sending SMS to citizens threatening them with live bullets if they continue to demonstrate,” @libyanfsl tweeted this morning.
Video of the protests occurring in Libya on February 16.
Unrest in Yemen
In the capital of Sana, 6000 protesters reportedly marched to the city’s center but were forced to fight off attacks by ‘by police and government supporters swinging batons and daggers.’ a dozen protesters and many policemen have been injured on this seventh day of Yemen’s protests and some 50 protesters arrested, the Guardian reports.
Video of anti-government protesters in the Yemeni capital of Sana
Most Recent Care2 coverage on the protests in the Middle East:
Photo of police in Bahrain by Al Jazeera English.
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