I got back home today, and I was expecting to enjoy a nice cup of tea and read some uplifting news. Boy was I wrong.
I started reading about the latest updates in Bahrain, and ooh boy, today was a turbulent day.
a huge crowd attended the demonstration
The Shia religious scholars were planning a demonstration against the recent attacks on the Shia shrines in Najaf and Karabala. The demonstration was to take place between the highway from Seef Mall to the Cornaish Highway. According to Al Jazeera, about 20,000 people turned up, including some prominent relgious scholars such as Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Isa Qassim, and Sheikh Al Ghuraifi.
but so were the police
I don't know what exactly happened, but it seems that all hell broke loose. According to Reuters and other sources, the police blocked the roads, fired tear gas bombs, fired shots, and attacked some of the demonstrators. Two Police Jeeps were burned in the confrontation as well. Most seriously, some of the prominent scholars and activists were apparently injured and had to be hospitalized, including Sheikh Isa Qassim and Jawad Feiruz.
The situation and how it developed still seems a bit foggy at the moment. Al Jazeera.net reports that the demonstration was peaceful, and that what started the whole debacle was the riots squad firing tear gases. Montadayat Al Bahrain website (and it definitely does not offer a balanced view) offered the same story, and that the burning of the Jeeps was done in retaliation to police escalation.
This is not good. Whatever were the reasons for the instigation of this event, it is definitely a serious setback. Particularly worrying is the injuries that some of the religious scholars received, as that is going to inflame the whole Shia community.
Furthermore, there have been reports that the King has called Sheikh Isa Qassim in the hospital, and has also fired the minister of Interior over this incident. The Interior ministry is (or was I should say, if the above is true) being held by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, but he has been sick and away from Bahrain. Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the son of the prime minister and also the head of Batelco, has been deputizing for him. Apparently both have been removed and their replacement is Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, who works in the Bahrain Defence Force. If indeed this is true, this extremely interesting news, especially as the actions of the King seem to be in direct conflict with his uncle, the Prime Minister, who is currently not in the country.
Does anyone else have any more information on this issue? If anyone does, please let us know!
(Note: the pictures are take from the website Montadayat Al Bahrain. All copyrights belong to them. If I have infringed on them, please let me know and I'll take them off.)