Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Fellow Activists Deported

No sooner did the Bahraini government find out we were here than they launched a full-scale effort to whisk us out of the country prior to the planned massive demonstrations on February 14, the one-year anniversary of what the Shia majority here call their ongoing revolution.

I've been working at breakneck speed, going to protests day and night, meeting with local activists, coming home and cutting video late into the night.

And that was before two of my fellow Witness Bahrain team members were arrested at yesterday's demonstration, which was entirely nonviolent (from the side of the protesters), even after police attacked with tear gas and sound grenades.  The crowd was small because all roads into the center of Manama, the capital city, were blocked by heavy police presence, and even many of the alleyways were guarded by lines of police.  But people were resolute in their determination to hold the planned march.  When police grabbed one young man out of the crowd, women surged forward to grab him back.  Huwaida, a Palestinian American well-known for her fearlessness in confronting the Israeli occupiers, ran forward, camera in hand, and demanded to know why this young man was being taken.  When police challenged her right to film and tried to take her camera, she walked away quickly, but the police ran after her and eventually she was surrounded by a group of heavily armed riot police.

Women crowded around to protect her, attempting to hold onto her while the police tried to push them away.  Local activists remarked that the brutality was far less than it would have been if we were not there, but it was brutal enough for me.  I filmed the confrontation, which ended with Huwaida being thrown into a van while police tossed sound bomb after sound bomb directly at the people.

Radhika was arrested when she tried to find out what had happened to Radhika.  A reporter tweeted last night that the government is looking for me too, hoping to remove all witnesses to their repression of the planned demonstrations on February 14.

Please go to our website (it's blocked in Bahrain -when I try to call it up it says "This web site has been blocked for violating laws and regulations of the Kingdom of Bahrain.") to read reports and see lots more video and also take a moment to sign the petition demanding Obama end US military aid to the Bahraini regime.

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