Riot police flee anti-government protesters in Bahrain

By Reuters
Saturday, February 19, 2011 14:44 EDT
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MANAMA (Reuters) – Anti-government protesters in Bahrain swarmed back into a symbolic square on Saturday, putting riot police to flight in a striking victory for their cause.

Crowds had approached Pearl Square in Manama from different directions, creating a standoff with riot police who had moved in earlier to replace troops withdrawn on royal orders.

Suddenly police raced to their buses, which drove away mounting kerbs in their haste to escape.

The protesters, cheering and waving national flags, ran to the center of the traffic circle, reoccupying it even before all the police had left. The crowd waved fleeing policemen through.

“We don’t fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are,” said Umm Mohammed, a teacher wearing a black abaya cloak.

Troops in tanks and armored vehicles earlier withdrew from the square, which they had taken over on Thursday after riot police staged a night-time attack on sleeping protesters who had camped out there, killing four people and wounding 231.

The crowds in Pearl Square soon swelled into the tens of thousands, celebrating a triumph for the mostly Shi’ite protesters who took to the streets on Monday, inspired by popular revolts that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

The authorities had been determined to prevent protesters from turning Pearl Square into a base like Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the heart of a revolt that ousted Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

Bahrain’s 70 percent Shi’ite majority has long felt discriminated against in the Gulf Arab island that is ruled by a Sunni Muslim dynasty and is a close U.S. and Saudi ally.

Shi’ites feel cut out of decision-making and complain of unfair treatment in access to state jobs and housing.

The Mochila story continues below.

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Now find which ones machine gunned peaceful protesters, then run them up the light posts.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    “We don’t fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are,” said Umm Mohammed, a teacher wearing a black abaya cloak.

    Now, these people – the whole lot of them from Tunisia to Bahrain and every other Arab country in between – are my personal heroes!

    Bahrain’s crown prince called for a national day of mourning “for the sons we have lost,” the state news agency reported.

    What a hypocritical son of a bitch. First, the orders them killed, then, he calls a nation day of mourning. Just like Castro who starves his people to death and then gives them a free funeral. They’re all the same psychopaths from one confine of the world to the next.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJCHJ2LWM3MGYUGHWB7ALWHE6M Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    “The United States [government] is caught between the desire for stability in an ally seen as a bulwark against Iran and the need to uphold the people’s right to express their grievances.”

    Very true on the above and even more so is the US government’s clear hypocrisy over a long period of time, made crystal clear worldwide with current communication methods. A prime example earlier this week is Sec of State Clinton’s displayed hypocrisy at George Washington University speaking in praise of protesters in the Middle East while smirking as government enforcers in her presence bodily remove silent standing (Veterans Against War tee-shirt wearing, back to the podium) protester, Ray McGovern.

    The US government is easily seen as speaking with forked tongue and not to be believed as serious about liberty for residents of *any* country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dorothy-Banks/100001470098554 Dorothy Banks

    “We don’t fear death any more, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are,” said Umm Mohammed.

    This statement has the sound and taste of Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil right movement, 1965. America and the world witnessed the savageness of Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Winston Pettus Bridge. King was leading unarmed marchers across the bridge from Selma to Montgomery when they were viciously attacked. The attack was unprovoked by King and the marchers.

    The problem? These oppressed African Americans had the unmitigated gall to march for, and demand the promise of the American dream.

    “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it muse be demanded by the oppressed.” Martin Luther King, Jr.