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article imageBahrain Shiites planning Feb. 14 'Day of Rage' large protests

By Andrew Moran     Feb 13, 2011 in Politics
Manama - Influenced by protests in Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern nations, Bahrain residents are calling for widespread protests against the Bahrain government and King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa. Is this the start of another revolution?
Activists, protestors and opposition groups have established a social media presence on websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, calling for anti-government demonstrations against the Bahrain’s Sunni rulers, reports Al Jazeera.
An e-mailed schedule of Monday’s protests – Day of Rage – is making the rounds throughout the Internet and one Facebook page that calls for a revolution in the nation has more than 14,000 followers. Mass text messages have also been reported.
Feb. 14 is also the anniversary of the country’s 2002 constitution, which has brought about some democratic changes, including an elected parliament.
The Associated Press reports that security forces have already begun to clampdown against the Shia majority, which has been the leader for Monday’s planned rallies. Local authorities have setup checkpoints in order to monitor people’s movements and whereabouts.
One situation, though, has already occurred in the northwest Shia village of Karzakan. At least six villagers have been injured, including a 21-year-old man who is in critical condition after being shot in the leg and groin area.
Press TV and AP report that forces had argued with people attending a wedding ceremony and proceeded to enter the building and start shooting. The Minister of the Interior says, however, that his men were being attacked and responded only with rubber bullets.
But why are the Shiites revolting against the Sunni-ruled government? Opposition groups say that the nation’s Shiites have been systematically discriminated against.
Bahrain King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa
Bahrain King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa
United States Navy
According to Press TV, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) issued a letter to King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa warning him of possible widespread upheaval against the Arab rulers in the region. The organization has urged the King to avoid using force against protestors.
“The release of all the detainees in Bahrain … could help to ease the tension and pave the way for a serious, instant and constructive dialogue on issues such as political participation, corruption by high officials, housing, low income, discrimination and naturalization on sectarian basis,” wrote Nabeel Rajab, president of the BCHR, reports Bloomberg News.
“The dissolving of the security apparatus and the prosecution of its officials … will avoid the fatal mistake committed by similar apparatuses in Tunisia and Egypt which lead to the loss of lives and hundreds of casualties and eventually resulted in the fall of the regimes that created these “double edged swords.”
One step taken in order to avoid domestic strife from the Shiites, the King has granted each family $2,700.
More about Bahrain, King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Protests, Revolution, Sunni
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