The Crackdown In Bahrain II
Mackey flags a new statement by Human Rights Watch:
Several patients at the Salmaniyya hospital told Human Rights Watch the army and police opened fire without warning on a crowd making their evening prayers near the heavily guarded roundabout. One protester said he was attacked by an armed man in civilian clothes.
The United States provided approximately US$20 million in military assistance to Bahrain in 2010, primarily for the purchase of military equipment, weapons, and training. It has proposed another US$20.2 million in assistance for 2011. It is unclear whether such equipment was used in today's attacks against the protesters.
Audio report from HRW here. Scott Lucas:
Saqer Al Khalifa, a professor who fervently supports the regime in Bahrain, is loudly declaring that no one died from gunfire today. His latest message, "Many protesters painted themselves with red paint, laid down on street and took photos of themselves."
Ali Ibrahim, deputy chief of medical staff at Salmaniya hospital, says 66 have been admitted suffering wounds from the raid at Pearl Roundabout in the capital. Four are in a critical condition. The injuries are worse than those seen on Thursday, he says.
The British Government has halted exports of security equipment to Bahrain and Libya.Britain has licensed hundreds of cartridges of tear gas and other riot control equipment for export to Bahrain in the past nine months and been criticised by human rights groups. Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was no evidence Bahrain was using British-made products to crack down on protesters.
Fatema, who lives across from Salmaniya Hospital in Manama, tells the BBC it is a crazy scene in the capital right now: "Injured people have been brought in cars (to the hospital) all day and there are thousands of people outside. There is a lot of anger, but I've never seen Bahrainis so united before."
There was a darkly amusing moment when al-Jazeera's English channel interviewed someone named Faisal Fulad from something called Bahrain Human Rights Watch. Fulad seemed surprisingly supportive of the Bahraini government and was warmly appreciative of the Crown Prince's recent statement.
When pressed on the recent deadly violence, Fulad said the region's governments supported Bahrain's actions. "Qatar also supports the Bahraini policy," claimed Falud. The interview was quickly terminated.
Unrelated fact: al-Jazeera is based in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The TV station is owned by Qatar Media Corporation, and al-Jazeera was founded by a $150m grant from the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The chairman of the Qatar Media Corporation is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer bin Mohammed bin Thani al-Thani.
(Photo: Anti-government protesters run from teargas during a clash with Bahraini security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. By John Moore/Getty Images)