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Saturday
Dec102011

Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: A New York Times Journalist is Detained, But What of the 40 People Killed?

A clip of Friday's protests in Sitra in Bahrain --- the march was later confronted by security forces with tear gas and rubber bullets

See also Bahrain Opinion: "Loonies" and The Sins of Bell Pottinger
Bahrain Special: 4 More Revelations about Qorvis, the Regime's PR Firm
Syria Video Feature: Friday's Protests
Friday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: What Will This Friday Bring?


2055 GMT: Gunmen, believed to be from renegade groups of former insurgents, have tried to kill the head of the Libyan army in Tripoli.

The assailants, whom military officials said were probably from the Zintan brigade, challenged the convoy of General Khalifa Hifter as it moved toward military headquarters. The attempt set off hours of intense gunbattles along the main highway to the airport (see 1755 GMT). One of Libya’s largest military bases was also attacked.

2045 GMT: The New York Times profiles the Salafist Nour Party, which finished second in the first round of Parliamentary elections in Egypt, describing a rally of a few hundred men in a village near Cairo:

“They think that it is them, and only them, who represent and speak for us,” Sheik Shaaban Darwish said through scratchy speakers. “They didn’t come to our streets, didn’t live in our villages, didn’t walk in our hamlets, didn’t wear our clothes, didn’t eat our bread, didn’t drink our polluted water, didn’t live in the sewage we live in and didn’t experience the life of misery and hardship of the people.”

“Brothers,” he continued, “we, the Salafis, the founders of Al Nour Party, were part of the silent majority.”

2035 GMT: A large, festive protest in Houla in Homs Province in Syria tonight:

2005 GMT: Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times writes tonight, "Interviewing in a mall here in Bahrain as riot police fire round after round of tear gas at protesters outside."

1755 GMT: Anita McNaught of Al Jazeera English reports, "Madness Tripoli airport tonight. Zintan Brigade involved in skirmish. Assaulted Al Jazeera English camera team. #Zintan fighters forcefully prevented our filming of the confrontations at #Tripoli airport. Behaved 'like Gaddafi goons', our locals say."

1715 GMT: In Taiz of Yemen, women march in honour of activist Tawakkul Karman, formally awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today:

Another march in Taiz rejects the unity government, which met for the first time today:

1715 GMT: A nine-minute video tracking how a protest in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh moved from peaceful assembly to clashes, with Mustafa Tamimi killed by a tear gas canister fired by Israel Defense Forces.

A photograph of Tamimi's sister at a service for him in Ramallah tonight:

1700 GMT: The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria reports that the “Doctor of the Revolution,” Ibrahim Nahel Othman, was killed today in Khirbet on the Turkish border by gunfire from Air Intelligence forces.

Othman, also known as Khaled al-Hakim, was one of the co-founders of the Physicians’ Coordinating Committee, which set up field hospitals in Damascus and its suburbs. He had headed graduate studies at the University of Damascus for Orthopedics.

The LCCS has posted a video of the body.

1620 GMT: As Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi chaired the first meeting of Yemen's new unity government, clashes in the southern province of Abyan killed 11 insurgents and two soldiers while a soldier was killed in the capital Sana'a.

1600 GMT: A series of videos from funerals across Syria for those killed by security forces --- first, Zamalka for Muhammad Ali Raslan:

The Damascus suburb of Kafar Batna for Omar Sweid and Bassam al-Rihani:

The Damascus suburb of Saqba:

1445 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 16 people were killed by security forces across Syria on Saturday, three of them in Homs and three of them in Homs Province.

1435 GMT: In Bahrain, dozens of regime supporters gathered outside the headquarters of the opposition group Wa'ad, holding signs denouncing "coup" conspirators in front of written slogans such as "Down with Iran" and "Shi'ites get out"

A resident said, "Police stopped them from entering. They dispersed after leaving pictures of King Hamad and the Prime Minister outside the Waad headquarters," a resident said.

Radhi al-Musawi, Waad's Deputy Secretary-General, added, "This building had been burned down twice, and we had just repaired it. So we were afraid that may be repeated. But police were there and nothing happened."

1430 GMT: A mass demonstration in Maarat al-Numan in Idlib Province in northwest Syria during the funeral of Hisham Naous, slain by security forces:

1130 GMT: Protesters have opened Tahrir Square in Cairo to traffic.

The symbolic centre of this year's demonstrations in Egypt has been blocked off since 18 November.

The protesters carried banners, "The square is opened based on the revolutionaries’ decision.” Small units have been formed to direct traffic, with a few activists remaining in tents in the roundabout in the middle of Tahrir.

1110 GMT: There is a lot of Internet discussion this morning of Friday's death of Mustafa Tamimi, killed in Nabi Saleh in Palestine when he was hit in the head by with Israel Defense Forces tear gas canister.

Video --- too graphic for us to show here --- has been posted.

0720 GMT: At one point on Friday, there was a challenging intersection of stories in social media. Protests in Bahrain sprung to attention, not necessarily because of the resurgence of the demonstrations but because a prominent New York Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof, and his photographer were held by police as the tear gas and rubber bullets flew. 

At the same time in Syria, activists were saying another 40 people, including seven children, had died at the hands of security forces during the day. Homs again took the brunt of the violence, but 18 in Homs but there were also casulaties in Idlib, the Damascus suburbs, Hama, and Daraa. 

The two Times journalists were soon freed. Meanwhile, the rallies continued across Bahrain. Syria, only two days after President Assad had claimed any deaths were mistakes in which he had no responsibility, just endured its "new normal" of protest and bloodshed.

The convergence left me reflecting on a quick exchange of messages on Twitter between Bahrain activist Zainab Alkhawaja and Zeynap Tufekci, one of the top analysts of social media. Alkhawaja had tweeted, "1 of the coolest things I ever saw, reporter w a camera on empty street, dozens of riot police retreating to their jeeps I joked, maybe we should arm every Bahraini w/ a video camera."

Tufekci's response? "Ah, but they also need to be seen as important ppl."

Claimed video of shabbiha --- plainclothes regime militia --- arresting and beating demonstrators in the Salah al-Deen district of Aleppo on Friday:

A march last night in Bori in Bahrain:

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