Ski-masked soldiers in Humvees and police have blocked off roads leading into Shiite areas, scaring many people into staying home, employers said. Opposition leaders have been arrested and held without charge, and others are rounded up nightly, human rights groups said.
Read any of the twitter feeds of the pro-democracy activists and you read each day of new abuses – or read the appeals from all the major global human rights organizations.
These abuses include arrests like this:
The United Nations warned on Thursday of “shocking and illegal” abuses in Bahrain where the US-backed Sunni Muslim rulers are waging a bloody crackdown on Shi’ite-led protesters.
Abdeljalil Alsingace, a blogger and head of the human rights office of the Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, a pro-democracy and civil liberties group, was picked up on 16 March, reports the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International, which is urging people to send letters to demand his release.
A family member of Alsingace told the IFEX Clearing House that Alsingace was basically kidnapped: he was dragged away in the night without proper clothes, his glasses, or a means to walk since he needs crutches or a wheelchair. His daughters woke up with several guns pointed at their heads, and feared he would be shot dead in front of them.
And today, AngryArabiya who we’ve been following, went to a police station to try to locate her uncle who was arrested two days ago by security forces. Her experience was chilling:
my uncle has 4 kids, his youngest, Ruqaya is arnd 6 & hasn’t stopped crying since his arrest. Who points a gun @ a 6 yr old child?! #bahrain
my uncles wife: “after they arrested my husband they pointed guns @ me in my children n started beating me.” #bahrain #feb14
my uncles wife: “They punched & kicked me, n pulled me from one room 2 another with gun pointed @ me, looking 4 my nephew.” #bahrain #feb14
we have no news of where my uncle could be, they took him, beat up his wife, messed up his house, and slashed all the tires in his car
keep wonderin where my uncle is now, is he hurt? is he hungry or thirsty? is he blindfolded & handcuffed? will they let him sleep 2night?
When she went and asked police about his whereabouts. . . [continued after the jump]
policeman turned to the other police & said very loudly “Theres a lot of rape going arnd these days” they started laughing #bahrain
Police then told me, military has ur uncle. why dont u go check with them and started laughing. #bahrain #feb14
I was in the police station for more than an hr, most of the time they’re looking for all my info on their computers. #bahrain #feb14
Just going to a police station is an act of heroism in Bahrain these days but her response was that of many in Bahrain who continue to work for civil rights:
This has been a horrible day, 2 say the least. will protest 2morrow with my bros. Everyday they convince us more why they must be overthrown
Today there are new peaceful demonstrations planned will see new demonstration in defiance of the government’s emergency orders. No one is sure what the reaction will be but the danger is clearly high.
While the Bahraini activists continue to practice nonviolent resistance to the regime, the Obama administration still refuses to back this civil rights movement – and instead plays along with the monarchy’s false claims of Iranin involvement.
As Kristin Smith Diwan of American University in a very helpful The Council of Foreign Relations good background piece on Bahrain notes:
What has happened, though, is that to relieve the pressure of the democratic uprising, both the Bahraini ruling family and now Saudi Arabia are spreading fears about Iran.
The Iranian scare talk – which ignores the fact that the protesters were not aligned with Iran – as noted even by Sec. Gates — is also picked up by our own government, looking for excuses for its refusal to even call for an end to the Saudi intervention.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday warned Iran to stop meddling in Bahrain and other Arab states in the Gulf by trying to advance its agenda in neighbouring countries.
“The US has an abiding commitment to Gulf security… and a top priority is working together with our partners on our shared concerns about Iranian behaviour in the region,” she said.
“We share the view that Iran’s activities in the Gulf, including its efforts to advance its agenda in the neighbouring countries undermines peace and stability,” she said.
While Obama and Clinton continue to side with the repressive monarchy, the people of Bahrain refuse to back down:Describing the crowd of mourners at the funeral of Bahia al-Aradi, “the first woman killed after [the king’s] crackdown against the opposition a week earlier.”
The mourners at al-Aradi’s funeral vowed not to give up their political battle. Women wept and men beat their chests as they accompanied the body toward the American Mission Hospital for burial.
“The government has humiliated us enough,” said Najeeba al-Zaki, a mother of four. “It is time for this to end. We will not stop pressing for our demands.”
You can stand with Najeeba and her sisters and brothers in Bahrain by signing Amnesty International’s petition which calls for an independent investigation of the “the killings and attacks on protesters and the assaults on health and medical workers,” protection for peaceful protests and the release of political prisoners. The petition can be signed here.
And you can call the White House (202-456-1111) and make it very clear that we expect President Obama to support the civil rights movement of the Bahraini people.
Videos: The second video shows western journalists attempting to question the Bahraini Foreign Minister Al Khalifa and the third is from the funeral of the first female martyr, Bahia al- Aradi.