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Bahrain: Appeals for protest and solidarity

Bahrain authorities open fire on protesters on February 18, 2011. The protesters are chanting "peacefully, peacefully".

On February 14, dubbed the "Day of Rage," Bahraini activists organised a mass rally in Manama to call for political reform in Bahrain, where the Khalifa Dynasty has ruled for nearly 200 years. Bahraini authorities responded brutally to the protest, killing as many as nine people and injuring many others. On February 18, soldiers near the Pearl roundabout in Manama fired upon pro-democracy protesters, with at least 66 people injured, several with gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Opposition political leaders have rejected the royal family's call for a "national dialogue". Also on February 18, reported Al Jazeera, thousands observed funerals for the four people killed in a pre-dawn raid on a protest campment at the Pearl roundabout a day earlier. Riot police had used clubs, tear gas and bird shot to break up the crowd. They tore down their tents, and blockaded the roundabout with police vehicles and barbed wire. More than 200 were wounded in that raid. At the funerals, many chanted slogans against Bahrain's ruling Al Khalifa family.

On February 19, Al Jazeera reported, thousands of protesters reoccupied the Pearl roundabout after troops and riot police retreated from the symbolic centre of their anti-government uprising. The cheering protesters carrying Bahraini flags, flowers and signs that said "Peaceful, peaceful" marched to the traffic circle on Saturday. They chanted, "We are victorious." Protesters kissed the ground in joy and took pictures of about 60 police vehicles leaving the area.

Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the crown prince, had earlier in the day ordered the military to withdraw, saying that the police would now be responsible for enforcing order, the Bahrain News Agency reported. Soon after the crown prince's directive, protesters attempted to stream back to the roundabout, but were beaten back by the police. According to the Reuters news agency, about 80 protesters were taken to a hospital after being hit by rubber bullets or teargas.

The protesters, however, were successful in the next attempt, after riot police withdrew as well from the traffic circle.

An appeal from activists inside Bahrain

February 15, 2011 -- The Progressive Democratic Forum expresses deep condolences to the masses of  Bahraini people, the families of martyrs and Fadel Ali Mushaima, who was shot at the hands of security forces, which brutally dealt with young people who marched [on February 14] in peaceful marches to demand constitutional rights, and better political and living conditions.

Those who were martyred in less than 24 hours have joined the martyrs of our people for democracy and political rights and for a free and dignified life.

Generations of Bahrainis from various sects and groups have struggled to end the monopoly of power and wealth, and this is demanded by today’s youth.

The Progressive Democratic Forum deplores the excessive use of force by security forces, demands respect for the rights of the people to demonstrate to demand their rights. Repression will only worsen the situation in the country, and will not stop the protesters claiming their goals.

In the opinion of the Progressive Democratic Forum the conditions in our country in this critical period requires a breakdown of powers, renewed political and social development in the country, and the two communities, Alkarimtin Sunni and Shia, to form a national body (such as the National Union in the 1950s), to embrace the people’s rights and demands for constitutional political and economic reform, preserving and protecting the fabric of people’s national unity.

Eternity to the memory of martyrs and Fadel Ali Mushaima.

Victory for the will of the people.

Appeal for solidarity

February 17, 2011

Dear comrades of various leftist parties and organisations,

The Bahraini people went out on the streets on February 14, the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter -- the national reform document on which people voted in a referendum in 2001, with 98.4% in favour.

The people have decided to demand that the royal regime start to implement the political reforms it promised. The demands include the beginning of effective procedures towards reforming the political regime, combatting corruption, abolishing racist and sectarian discrimination in Bahrain and guaranteeing fair distribution of wealth.

These protests were faced with a crazy reaction from the Bahraini authorities, the number of casualties until now is seven so far. This repressive campaign continueswith the use of live ammunition, blocking entrances to a number of villages and towns, raiding and attacking homes, in addition to the spreading of armed military tanks.

This repressive attack is considered an abandonment by the government of the reform project which guaranteed to the people their right to protest as per the 2002 Bahraini constitution.

Henceforth, we call on all Arab and International organisations to begin a protest campaign to expose these practices of the Bahrain authorities and to protest in front of Bahrain embassies and UN headquarters in their countries and to maintain contact with human rights organisations regarding this matter.

We also call on them to send protest letters to those embassies or to the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs against these policies. The Bahraini people await your courageous stance for its struggle for its legitimate right to live in freedom, justice and dignity.

Our path as you know is rough and filled with thorns, death on all sides ... but we will march on.

Please send your solidarity appeal to: the MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MMFF),

Phone: +973-17227555 +973-17227555

Fax: +973-17212603, +973-17210575, +973-17225107

Bahrain's Progressive Democratic Forum appeals for solidarity

By Hussein Ureybi

Bahrain's Progressive Democratic Forum issues the following statement as the Bahrain's rulers deploy riot police and mercenaries to attack peaceful protesters camped in Pearl Square.

February 17, 2011 -- MRZine -- Security forces raided at dawn today on Pearl Square, which was the centre of protests in the Bahraini capital Manama, and used all means of force, including exploding bullets, to disperse the protesters and to seize the square.

This led to the deaths of at least five people and injuries to hundreds of others. They also surrounded the Sulamanieyh hospital where the wounded and the martyrs were supposed to be taken. The Bahraini people's protests were peaceful in every sense of the word.

We are calling for reform, social justice and negotiation with the executive power. The video footage shows a peaceful crowd chanting as they receive a barrage of rubber bullets and tear gas.

Everything was normal until 1 am, but then the treacherous security forces attacked the protesters, including women and children, beat foreign media correspondents and confiscated their cameras.

The security forces are still surrounding the entrances to a number of villages and searching homes.

What we've seen are dozens of tanks deployed in different areas of Bahrain and news reports on the use of Saudi military.

We invite you to call for a demonstration of solidarity in front of Bahrain's embassies or any of the headquarters of the United Nations and send messages of protest to the embassies of Bahrain and international agencies in your countries.

That the Bahraini people need in these times the courage to struggle this tyrannical regime.

Hussein Ureybi
Coordinator general for external relations
Progressive Democratic Forum


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