Funeral of Bahrain youth turns into street protest

DUBAI Sun Jan 1, 2012 2:14pm EST

1 of 4. Flames are seen from a thrown molotov thrown by protesters in front of riot police during clashes in the village of Sitra south of Manama, January 1, 2012. Hundreds of protesters took to streets of Sitra demanding the downfall of the regime at the funeral procession of a protester, Sayed Hashem Saeed, who died on Saturday during police clashes.

Credit: Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahraini police fired tear gas and sound grenades after hundreds of Shi'ite youths demonstrated on Sunday over the death of a 15-year-old protester a day earlier in the Sunni-ruled Gulf island kingdom, residents and activists said.

Confrontations between security forces and protesters take place almost daily in areas populated by majority Shi'ites, who led anti-government protests that were crushed last year.

"After the funeral, many of the mourners started protesting and the police began using tear gas and sound bombs. It is still going on hours later," a resident told Reuters from the mostly Shi'ite village of Sitra, south of the capital Manama.

At least one demonstrator was wounded after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister, activists said in Twitter messages.

The opposition said earlier that Sayed Hashim Saeed, who died on Saturday, had been hit by a tear gas canister at close range, but officials said the youth's body had extensive burns which could not have been caused by a tear gas canister.

"Preliminary investigations show that the deceased was among those who took part in attacks on security forces by throwing petrol bombs," the state news agency BNA quoted a police official as saying.

A coroner's report said the youth had a neck wound which may have been fatal and that the cause of death would be investigated.

Authorities said on Sunday they had arrested 11 "saboteurs" suspected of throwing petrol bombs at police during a protest on Friday in the village of Nuwaidrat, near Sitra, south of Manama, BNA reported.

Shi'ite youths chanting slogans against Bahrain's royal family clashed with riot police across the Gulf state on Friday and Saturday. Security forces fired tear gas to try to prevent them from blocking roads, a tactic often used by protesters.

Inspired by Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of mainly Shi'ite Bahrainis took to the streets in February and March demanding curbs on the power of the ruling Sunni Muslim Al-Khalifa family and an end to perceived discrimination.

The broader pro-democracy movement was suppressed with military backing from Bahrain's Sunni-led Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

At least 35 people, including five members of the security forces, were killed in the unrest, according to an inquiry Bahrain commissioned into the protests and their aftermath. The inquiry said it found evidence of systematic abuse and torture.

Bahrain has promised to implement the inquiry's recommendations, which the U.S. Congress has linked to its approval of a $53 million arms sale to Manama. Opposition groups doubt the kingdom's commitment to reform.

On Saturday, the independent daily Al Wasat said on its website that the head of the body tasked with implementing the recommendations, Ali al-Salih, had resigned. There was no official confirmation of the report.

Bahrain is important to Western interests in the Middle East because it hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and faces Shi'ite giant Iran on the other side of the Gulf. Iran has denied Bahraini government accusations that it has incited the protests.

(Reporting by Nour Merza and Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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Comments (9)
Ahhhh…. and the US just sold them $53 million in arms???

Yea, you’ll find the US is VERY quiet about this particular uprising because it has it’s fifth fleet stationed in Bahrain!!

And because Bahrain is on the doorstep of Saudi Arabia, the most horrendous dictatorship known to man, and also a staunch US ally!

Jan 01, 2012 3:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Freemind1971 wrote:
Great artical however it lacks some kritical and detaild fackts.

On the 31Dec the Feb14 movement had orginized a uniq peacfull protest and it announced in two stages. The messige was for all villeges to have a picknik on there doorsteps.

At 14:00 31Dec the participation was very wide, families young and old put carpets outside there hous had lunch, tea and some of the older generation brought there “Gado” the old type of water pite. IMP note: There were no slogans or any politica chants. My 5 year old nephew asked me is it Eid? Infact the atmosfear was much better than Eid.

At around 14:45 2 police jeeps rolled in to the villege and addressed the person standing next me. They said they did not want any gatherings and if the people did not go indoors they would attack the villege. At this point i finaly understood why Feb14 asked for this, they just proved that villeges are infact large prisons were the Bahrain regime forcefully deprive them of all rights including having a picknick on their door stepps.

Part two of the activity was soon brodcasted the second part of the protest and asked protesters to head twards nearby streats and chant unifying slogans. And so we did, we walked to the closest steat Men , women, boys & girs and made a human chain alongside the road (Not blocking and disturbing). The chain did not last long, after the Police recived the reinforcment they started attacking the protestors and then followed them in to the villige continued to fire different types of teargas and rubber bullets. Similar attacks took place in most villiges all around Bahrain. And in one of them a 15 year (Sayed Hashim)old boy was delibratly shot at close range with a teargas canister in the neck witch killed him. Sayed Hashims close friend in the same age died in the exact same way on Eid day 2011.

on the morning of 1 Jan I and many other headed early to the Sitra were the funeral was due to start at 14:30, to morn the murderd kid and show our solidarity with his family. but the regime had closed of all roads leading to sitra and attacked pepol that decided to walk to Sitra.Sitra was literally suraounded and cut off in a military way Some made it to Sitra by swiming or using small boats but then the regime deployed its troops and helicopters to stop and presue thise morners. In sitra the burial cermoniy was attacked just like many before it was by the regime forces. clashes errupted leading to 100s of injuries. Shootguns and hadguns were used agenst the protestors throuh out the night. All night we were reciveing SOS messiges form inside Site and other villiges as no Doctors could make there way to attend to the enjories some of them were critical like scull fractures.

This is the Bahraini regime that the West considers a frend and ally and back with arms.

All we demand is Human Right, Political Rights and Democracy.

Jan 02, 2012 2:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
simx wrote:
well.. im all in support for democracy and more powers to the people.. but for heavens sake stop saying that the movement in Bahrain is peaceful. makes me sick when I see all the trouble created and then claiming that we are peaceful. I can see how the word ‘democracy’ is being used to fool everyone.

can someone with a bit of brain explain the role of 12,13..15,16 yrs old kids in the protests just like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2pW59jLQl0

how much do they know about democracy? or the outcomes of their being out… shame on you when you put the weak in front and then use this fuel your so called ”peaceful movement’.

at least be true to yourself!

Jan 02, 2012 3:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
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