The tumult in a region normally kept tranquil under
the heavy-handed security of conservative Gulf regimes underscored the
widening reverberations of new pro-democracy movements in the
thousands of people turned out for Monday’s street march, which marked
the first major reformist demonstration since security forces put down
widespread protests in
The smell of tear gas was in the air in central
and Amirkabir universities. Meanwhile, thousands more people who turned
out for the main scheduled march were walking quietly along the
Those who shouted out slogans such as “Death to the
Dictator!” were grabbed by police or plainclothes militia, triggering
clashes that in some cases involved young demonstrators beating
security personnel. Despite massive police attempts to block access,
hundreds of demonstrators made it into
Along the parade route, about 200 protesters mounted the pedestrian bridge west of
riot police began attacking hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas,
rubber bullets, concussion grenades and pellets, according to
Protesters there were not calling for the collapse
of the Sunni monarchy, which oversees a nation that is predominantly
Shiite. They instead were seeking a new constitution; an investigation
into corruption, torture and purported attempts to suppress the Shiite
majority by naturalizing new Sunni citizens; and the release of up to
500 political prisoners, many of them under the age of 18.
“We call on all Bahraini people — men, woman, boys
and girls — to share in our rallies in a peaceful and civilized way to
guarantee a stable and promising future for ourselves and our
children,” Bahraini activists said in a statement.
“We would like to stress that
is only the beginning. The road may be long and the rallies may
continue for days and weeks, but if a people one day chooses life, then
destiny will respond.”
At least 14 people reportedly were injured in
clashes earlier in the day and on Sunday outside the capital,
especially in the area of Karzakan.
was undergoing its fourth straight days of protests, with a reported 17
people wounded in two separate clashes between pro-reform demonstrators
and pro-government activists, with riot police trying to stand between
Demonstrators were being attacked with broken
bottles, daggers and rocks by several hundred government supporters,
many waving Yemeni flags and photos of
Human Rights Watch complained that police had used electric Tasers against citizens in an attempt to quell the protests.
(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.
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