Hundreds of thousands of protestors are taking to the streets of Bahrain in the third anniversary of the revolution. Faced by international hypocrisy, peaceful protests continue in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Qatif in Saudi Arabia despite the ongoing oppression.
Resistance in Bahrain
Three years ago, small protests began on the eve of February 14, 2011. Next day, peaceful protestors and activists left their homes at dawn to march in the several cities and villages in Bahrain. On their way to the Pearl Roundabout, they gathered men, women and children. The number of protestors increased to around 600,000, which is more than half of the population in Bahrain. Authorities demolished the Pearl monument, which was encircled by protestors. Although it was demolished, protestors who camped in the roundabout call their revolution as the “Pearl Revolution.”
Marking the third anniversary, Bahrainis held a general strike in several cities and villages on February 13, 2014. Stores were shutdown and many workers did not go to their workplaces. On February 14-15, hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets. As usual, they faced attacks. In addition to attacking participants, government forces attacked houses with teargas.
Western weapons for a regime that tortures
Compared to the other revolutions in the Arab region, protests in Bahrain (home to US fifth fleet), have faced silence and fewer condemnations and outrage from the "international community." The Western-backed AlKhalifa monarchy has continuously been talking about dialogue with the opposition. However, prominent opposition leaders and other political prisoners, including children, remain detained. Despite the repression, arms from several places, including Canada, have been exported to Bahrain.
While protests remain peaceful, there have been recent incidents of youths attacking armoured tanks with Molotov cocktails that could hardly cause any harm to armed riot police, army and other members of the government’s forces. The repressive state has used those minor attacks by the outraged youths as an excuse to detain and torture children in the name of “combating terrorism.”
Movements in Saudi Arabia
At the same time, people in the Eastern Province of Qatif are also celebrating their third anniversary of the revolution by continuing to resist the Saudi forces that continue to attack protestors and raid homes. Several activists have been detained and some, including Sheikh Nemer Baqir AlNemer and other political detainees, are at imminent risk of crucifixion by the Saudi authorities. AlNemer remains in solitary confinement, suffering from his injuries. In the past three years, hundreds have been killed, injured and arbitrarily arrested in Qatif.
The protests in Qatif began in solidarity with the peaceful Bahraini demonstrators demanding the Western-backed Saudi government to withdraw its forces from the small island of Bahrain. However, as the demonstrations became frequent and regular, people in several parts of Saudi Arabia have been demanding an end to the oppression exercised by Al-Saud monarchy. Groups demanding women and minority’s rights have also received encouragement and solidarity by other pro-democracy protestors.
As the Saudi government sense the threat of the pro-democracy movements. In addition to attacking pro-democracy movements in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Al-Saud monarchy played a counter-revolutionary role in several Arab countries such as Syria, Egypt and Yemen. The Saudi state has realised that any real democratic change in the region will shake the pro-Western monarchy.
While being in solidarity with the revolutionaries is essential, it is equally crucial to demand Western governments and other weapons’ exporters halt any arms deals to dictatorships such as the Bahraini and Saudi monarchies