Sign up for weekly updates

Peaceful protests calling for self-determination violently suppressed in Bahrain

Bahraini policemen arrest protesters during a demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah
Bahraini policemen arrest protesters during a demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah


(BCHR/IFEX) - 3 August 2012 - On the night of 2 August 2012, Bahrain witnessed numerous peaceful protests calling for democracy and freedom which were called by the February 14th Coalition in Bani Jamra, Bilad AlQadeem and AlDair and have spread in other areas under the slogan "The People Demand Self-Determination".

All protests have been suppressed violently; police have used tear gas, stun grenades and birdshots. BCHR has received reports of protesters suffering numerous serious injuries, with some being struck in the head. Since the hospitals have been under military control for over a year now, protesters are unable to receive proper treatment for fear of being arrested. Hospitals have been ordered to report any injury related to protests to the police. Instead, demonstrators have had to manage with home-based treatment.

Police have continued to use an excessive amount of tear gas in residential areas even after dispersing the protests. Reports show that they continue to target houses directly with tear gas. In addition, the helicopter of the ministry of interior was seen lobbing tear gas canisters on residential areas from the air.

More than 35 protesters have been arrested either on the streets or after their houses were raided without any arrest warrant; some were released after being severely beaten. There are several reports of violence against women, as well as objects being stolen during the raids.

According to an eyewitness, those arrested from Bani Jamrah were taken to the stable, which is known to be the location of an unofficial torture centre. The families of the people who were arrested yesterday say that their detained relatives have obvious marks of beating. They have now been moved to the Fort Prison, which has a hospital.

Families that gathered at Samaheej and Bani Jamrah police stations to demand the release of their sons were attacked by security forces and forced to leave. There are continuous reports of protesters being arrested, beaten, having their phones stolen and then released.

The process of documenting the arrests of the night of 2 August is still on-going but the BCHR estimates the number to be between 30-40. The known detainees from last night are listed at the end of BCHR's report, which also contains a number of videos.

In addition, the head of Women's Affairs at the AlWefaq political society, Ahlam Alkhuzaei, was arrested last night at the Bahrain airport on her way to an Amnesty International conference in Tunisia. She was released earlier this morning.

DPA/EPA photojournalist Mazin Mahdi, who previously has been stopped during protests, was assaulted by a motorist while he was covering a protest staged by Zainab AlKhawaja on Alqadam roundabout. The security forces were watching but ignoring the on-going assault. While the motorist was allowed to leave the scene, Mazen's work ID-card was confiscated and he was asked to pick it up from the police station.

BCHR strongly condemns the government's fierce crackdown on whoever exercises their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and the attack on journalists and activists for exposing the crimes committed in Bahrain by the authorities. We immediately demand the release of all detained activists and protesters, putting an end to the use of violence against peaceful protesters and granting Bahrainis their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
What other IFEX members are saying

Latest Tweet:

SIGN NOW: Writers, journalists, artists, and supporters of @PENamerican write to protest the arrest and prosecutio…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.