this was sent to me from Bahrain the person who did the reporting he/she would like to stay anonymous
Another demonstrator was buried yesterday; Abdulredha Mohammed Hassan, 32, died in the Salmaniya hospital after being shot in the head by the Bahraini army on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and two children, and his death brings the total number of those killed by police or army personnel in the recent uprising to seven, with an estimated 200 injured.
The government of Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, released a statement expressing its willingness to support the Bahraini authorities “with all its capabilities”. Kuwait too, called in its support with a statement from the amir Sabah bin Ahmed Al Sabah saying, “the security of Bahrain is the security of the region.” From the UAE
In an interesting development, also from Saudi Arabia, a document entitled Call for Solidarity with Bahrain’s People has been released by some 60 academic, calling on the international community to condemn the brutality meted out against Bahrainis demanding freedom and rights.
Protesters at the square still said to be formulating demands. Demands range from the complete overthrow of the monarchy to the resignation of the Prime Minister (who has been in power since Bahrain’s independence in 1971) and his replacement with an elected Prime Minister, the release of political prisoners and constitutional reform.
On Saturday the crown prince Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa spoke on CNN, saying, “our big fear – the protestors in Pearl Roundabout represent a significant proportion of our society and our political belief, but there are other forces at work here. This is not Egypt and this not Tunisia. And what we don’t want to do, like in Northern Ireland, is descend into militia warfare or sectarianism. It is our role to build enough trust with the moderates in the country that we can transcend this problem in any future roles.”
Two days letter, as post a morale boost from the Saudis, in a bizarre turn of events a “National Unity Gathering” rally was staged in Juffair, the same location as the Saturday’s pro-government rally. While sloganeering around the term unity (meaning unity between Sunni and Shia, a slogan being chanted at the Pearl anti-government protests), the event was held at Bahrain’s “national” Sunni mosque, featured a Sunni imam, and included a televised address with prominent Sunni members of Parliament. Local TV covered the entire event, including aerial shots to demonstrate the size of the crowd, which they declared to be “300,000” (out of a population of 568,399). If the usual suspects at the Pearl Roundabout are disenfranchise Shia Bahrainis, no surprise then that those interviewed on Bahrain TV included members of major Bahraini Sunni tycoon-families.
The massive turnout was addressed by (among others) religious scholar Abdullatif Al Mahmoud. While co-opting the Pearl roundabout protesters’ demands for reform, Al Mahmoud stressed the legitimacy of the current regime, reportedly asking the crowds, “do you want to have in our country the rule of vilayat al-Fakih?” a reference to the Iran, where the supreme leader must be a faqih (Islamic jurist), and presumably a reference also to the protesters at Pearl roundabout. He also appealed to Bahrain’s King to release political prisoners – which the King ordered in a decree the following day, in a move that did not go unnoticed by Pearl roundabout protesters, one of whom tweeted, “HH the King pardons a number of the prisoners in response to the unity march of AlFateh NOT the demands of the protesters in #Lulu- #Bahrain”.
Although number of prisoners nor their names have been issued, it is thought that a number of detainees facing ‘terror’ charges for allegedly planning a coup will be among those released.
The evening ended with a speech by Bahrain’s technologically savvy Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who said, presumably referring to the “Unity” rally; “As usual, the people of Bahrain overcome all crises and difficulties strongly united”, and presumably in reference to some of the chants heard at Pearl roundabout, “Those who call for the fall of the regime want the fall of Bahrain because it is legitimate and agreed by all”. Responding to questions, the minister reportedly defended Bahrain’s bicameral system in which a Shura council of 40 members chosen by the King has the power to overrule legislation passed by the National Assembly, made up of 40 elected members as a way of ‘ensuring minority and women’s rights’, and stated that an investigation committee working to ‘international standards’ would investigate the deaths of 5 protesters. The minister allegedly also denied that any political decision was made ‘to fire on citizens’.