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PORTSIDE  February 2011, Week 3

PORTSIDE February 2011, Week 3

Subject:

Bahrain, Libya and Yemen Try to Crush Protests With Violence

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Date:

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 21:45:09 -0500

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Bahrain, Libya and Yemen Try to Crush Protests With
Violence

     Reports of dozens killed by Gaddaffi's security
     forces, while Bahrain troops leave scores wounded

Ian Black, Middle East editor, and Martin Chulov in
Manama
guardian.co.uk
18 February 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/18/bahrain-libya-yemen-protests-violence

Violence in Libya and Bahrain has claimed scores of
lives and left many more injured as the two Arab
countries were united by popular protests that continue
to shake the status quo and sound alarm bells across
the region and the world.

A week after Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, was
forced to stand down, dozens of Libyans were reported
killed by Muammar Gaddafi's security forces. Meanwhile,
Bahraini troops shot dead at least one protester and
wounded 50 others after mourners buried four people who
were killed on Thursday in the worst mass unrest the
western-backed Gulf state has ever seen.

"We don't care if they kill 5,000 of us," a protester
screamed inside Salmaniya hospital, which has become a
staging point for Bahrain's raging youth. "The regime
must fall and we will make sure it does."

Last night footage was posted on YouTube apparently
showing Bahraini security forces shooting protesters.

Western nations have been struggling to adjust their
policies in response to the security crackdowns in Arab
countries.

But Britain announced that it was revoking 44 licences
for the export of arms to Bahrain amid concern over the
violent suppression of protests in the Gulf state. The
Foreign Office also said that eight arms export
licences to Libya had been withdrawn, while a review of
arms exports to the wider region continues.

Bahrain's crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-
Khalifa went on television to promise a national
dialogue once calm has returned. But the country's most
senior Shia cleric, Sheikh Issa Qassem, condemned
attacks on protesters as a "massacre" and said the
government had shut the door to such dialogue.

While the unrest in Bahrain was broadcast instantly
around the world, the unprecedented bloodshed in the
remote towns of eastern Libya was far harder for global
media to cover.

Amid an official news blackout in Libya, there were
opposition claims of 60 dead as diplomats reported the
use of heavy weapons in Benghazi, the country's second
city, and "a rapidly deteriorating situation" in the
latest – and the most repressive – Arab country to be
hit by serious unrest.

Libyans said a "massacre" had been perpetrated in
Benghazi, al-Bayda and elsewhere in the region. Crowds
in the port city of Tobruk were shown destroying a
statue of Gaddafi's Green Book and chanting, "We want
the regime to fall," echoing the slogan of the uprising
in Egypt.

Umm Muhammad, a political activist in Benghazi, told
the Guardian that 38 people had died in the city. "They
[security forces] were using live fire here, not just
teargas. This is a bloody massacre – in Benghazi, in
al-Bayda, all over Libya. They are releasing prisoners
from the jails to attack the demonstrators." Benghazi's
al-Jala hospital was appealing for emergency blood
supplies to help treat the injured.

News and rumours spread rapidly via social media
websites including Twitter and Facebook, but
information remained fragmentary and difficult to
confirm.

In Yemen at least five people were reported killed when
security forces and anti-government protesters clashed
for a seventh consecutive day in the capital, Sana'a,
Aden and other cities, with crowds demanding an end to
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule.

Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" about the
reports of violence from Bahrain, a close ally and the
base of the US fifth fleet, as well as those from Libya
and Yemen, and he urged their rulers to show restraint
with protesters.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights,
also condemned the killings of protesters in Algeria,
Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. "The Middle East
and North Africa region is boiling with anger," he
said. "At the root of this anger is decades of neglect
of people's aspirations to realise not only civil and
political rights, but also economic, social and
cultural rights."

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the influential Egyptian
cleric Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi said the Arab world had
changed and said Egypt's new military leaders should
listen to their people "to liberate  us from the
government that Mubarak formed".

It has also emerged that the Ministry of Defence has
helped train more than 100 Bahraini army officers in
the past five years at Sandhurst and other top UK
colleges.

___________________________________________

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on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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