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Bahrain: civil disobedience strikes back at the regime

By: 
Yusur Al Bahrani

March 14, 2013

March 14 marks the second anniversary of the Saudi troops, with military aid from the United Arab Emirates, invading Bahrain to help the AlKhalifa regime crackdown on peaceful protestors. While the Saudi troops remain in Bahrain, thousands of Bahrainis commemorated this day by civil disobedience and a general strike, which revolutionaries named “Strike of Dignity 2”
 
Civil disobedience 
Just like “Strike of Dignity 1” that took place on the anniversary of the revolution on February 14, “Strike of Dignity 2” was very successful too. Shops were shutdown and workers refused to go to their workplaces. Many students did not attend their classes in schools and universities. The civil disobedience paralyzed the regime and reflected the power of the united masses in Bahrain. Outraged by the people’s unity, the regime’s forces used teargas canisters to attack civilians in their homes. Throwing teargas canisters in highly populated areas in Bahraini villages is very dangerous and results in suffocation of children and in some cases their death.
 
Live ammunition
The regime's forces directly targeted pro-democracy protestors with live ammunition and bird shot pellets. AlWefaq opposition party reported that the forces also used gas grenades as live ammunition aiming at the upper parts of the protestors’ bodies in an attempt to kill. The regime’s use of gas grenades as live ammunitions previously killed tens of civilians. In February, two youths, Mahmoud Al-Jaziri and Hussain Al-Jaziri, were killed as the forces shot them directly with gas grenades. 
 
Resistance and demands
Demonstrators in Bahrain demanded the immediate withdrawl of Saudi troops. While the Saudi troops are responsible for grave human rights violations including killings and arrests, pro-government and Al-Khalifa loyalists waved the flags of Saudi Arabia in an attempt to demoralize the protestors. The attempts failed and until the late hours at night protestors flooded the streets in several villages and cities.
 
On the other hand, the Kingdom of Bahrain appointed Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa as the first deputy prime minister. The decision was not based on elections. Although some might view him as a moderate and reformist, he has not shown any serious efforts in stopping the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain. Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa has been in his position for more than four decades. The demands of protestors remain the same, despite the minor political changes: the unconditional release of all political detainees and prisoners of conscience, withdrawing the Saudi forces, an end to the ongoing regime’s violations, an end to the discrimination faced by Bahraini aboriginal population and a true democracy.
 
Solidarity
We can show solidarity towards Bahraini revolutionaries by calling on Western governments to stop exporting arms to Bahrain, which is the home of US Fifth Fleet. It is necessary to expose Western governments’ hypocrisy (like Canada) that in one hand supports the oppressive Saudi and Bahraini regimes, and in the other hand claim to be democratizing other parts of the world through militarism.

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