Protesters in Sitra in Bahrain scramble after police break up a candle-lit rally on Thursday night
2048 GMT: It may be nearly midnight in Bahrain, but the struggle between the protesters and the police continues. A source in Sitra reports:
"23:45 At the moment there is a helicopter flying on Sitra with spot light searching for protesters"
2036 GMT: A potentially very important video has been posted in our separate entry. Protesters gathered tonight in AL Hoole, Homs, unfurl a large banner with a clear request, written in both English and Arabic:
2023 GMT: We've posted a separate video feature tonight.
Today was busy, and with so many dramatic pictures, videos, and nuggets of news, the scale of the protests can easily be overlooked. In the liveblog, we have focused on the violence, but what occurred this Friday, like many others, was another mass demonstration of peaceful protesters, in nearly every corner of the country, demanding the resignation of those responsible for the violence.
Among the violence, the peaceful protests are being eclipsed by the media, but they have not gone away.
1952 GMT: WARNING, this video is VERY hard to watch. Bullets snap (which means they were very close) around a cameraman, as unarmed protesters flee back up the street, carrying a man who was apparently shot in the head. The video was reportedly taken today in Homs. It's very graphic:
1945 GMT: Soldiers joined the protests in Sana'a, Yemen's capital today, where tens or hundreds of thousands took to the street in yet another massive Friday protest:
1920 GMT: This video was forwarded to us from an activist. It reportedly shows police and protesters trading tear gas and rocks in AbuSaiba, southern Bahrain, tonight:
1848 GMT: Leah McElrath comments that "title sucks" but the main stream media coverage is welcome, as she shared an Associated Press article entitled "Clashes erupt in Bahrain after protester funeral."
Security forces clashed with thousands of mourners and opposition factions Friday after the funeral march for a man whose relatives say died after inhaling tear gas fired at Shiite-led protesters in the Gulf kingdom.
The skirmishes erupted shortly after mourners joined in anti-government chants that included cries for Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to step aside after more than seven months of unrest on the strategic island, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
Tensions could further increase before next week's elections to fill 18 seats in the 40-member parliament that were abandoned in a walkout by Shiite lawmakers to protest the sweeping crackdowns. Top Shiite political blocs have called for a boycott of the Sept. 24 voting.
Security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades and chased protesters along narrow streets of Shiite-populated neighborhoods in Sitra, Bahrain's oil hub.
1810 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the NTC assault on Bani Walid has met with stiff resistance:
Columns of Libyan NTC fighters and vehicles withdrew chaotically from Bani Walid at dusk after hours of fierce fighting ended inconclusively and pro-Gaddafi forces continued to shell their positions in andaround the city, Reuters witnesses said.
"We have received orders to retreat. We have been hit by many rockets. We will come back later," NTC fighter, Assad Al Hamuri, told Reuters as he fled from the frontline.
"We need to reorganise troops and stock up on ammunition. We are waiting for orders to go back in again," said NTC fighter Saraj Abdelrazaq.
The atmosphere was frantic and shouting matches erupted among the anti-Gaddafi fighters as their forces poured out of the city amid heavy bursts of rocket fire from Gaddafi forces.
1753 GMT: A source in Bahrain sends us this message:
Just passed on a small protest, around 30 young guys in a small village on inside Sitra called Muhaza, Chanting "down down hamad" (Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain).
1745 GMT: This video reportedly shows the crowd dispersing after police turned on the funeral procession for Sayed Jawad in Sitra Bahrain. Police sirens can be heard in the background:
1724 GMT: James Miller returns from a quick media/lunch break to find that a source in Bahrain has checked in.
According to the contact, the funeral procession for Sayed Jawad was dispersed by police who used "shotguns, teargas, rubber bullets."
This video reportedly shows the march in Sitra, Bahrain, before the crackdown:
The Guardian also posts several tweets and pictures from Sitra, and our contact forwards us this picture, reportedly taken about an hour and a half ago in Sitra (Local time 7 PM, about an hour and a half after sundown):
5 have been killed in the Damascus and its suburbs including, 2 have been killed in Douma, 1 in Zabadani, 1 in Midan and 1 in Nahir Aishah,
1 person was killed in Deir Ez Zor,
2 in Daraa,
3 in Homs,
6 in Hama,
14 in Idlib province.
1512 GMT: Dramatic raw footage, courtesy of the Associated Press, of NTC fighters dodging sniper bullets in the attempt to take the Qaddafi stronghold of BAni Walid today:
The second, AFTER. Protesters take cover as the bullets ring out. Casualties are reported:
1453 GMT: Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has progressively change his rhetoric towards Syria's President Bashar al Assad. One reporter on Twitter notes that today Erdogan called him "Bashar," and not "Mr. Assad," as is his custom, and The Guardian gives us this analysis:
Erdogan told a cheering crowd in Tripoli that by ousting Muammar Gaddafi the Libyan people had set an example to others seeking to throw off oppression.
"You are the ones who showed the whole world that no administration can stand in the way of the might and will of the people," Erdogan said, as many chanted "Turkey, Turkey."
"Do not forget this: those in Syria who inflict repression on the people will not be able to stand on their feet because oppression and prosperity cannot exist together."
1448 GMT: Just as we're receiving reports of more casualties in Syria, we're given this video which reportedly shows a large group of soldiers opening fire on protesters and buildings in the important Damascus suburb of Douma:
1431 GMT: We turn to Libya. The pro-Qaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid has been under heavy attack today from National Transitional Council fighters. Al Jazeera has been broadcasting an interesting split screen. On one side, the NTC fighters shoot at Ban Walid, and on the other Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan gave a speech in Tripoli. Here are a few excerpts, with analysis by Al Jazeera:
"I believe in their hearts. The people of Sirte also have this support for their movement. They're just hoping and asking that there is no more delay and no more need for any more blood to be shed so we can hold kind of meetings that we are holding here in Sirte as well .. The NTC may encounter difficultes. But Libya belongs to the people of Libya and must remain continue to blong to the people of Libya and never turn into an Iraq."
Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Libya, said, "[Erdogan] talked about how the age of tyranny and dictatorship is over".
"Basically, Erdogan said to the people of Sirte, 'Come and join the party, since there is no reason why you'd stand outside of this. Join your brothers in Tripoli and Benghazi'."
"He's watching what we are watching, the final conclusive battles for Libya," our correspondent said.
Erdogan will next travel to Benghazi where he will speak to the people there. The Trukish Prime Minister has been on an "Arab Spring Tour," where he has been delivering largely populist speeches, as well as throwing his support to the people of Palestine in their efforts to gain recognition from the UN.
1421 GMT: We often post footage of security forces near protesters, and then hear afterwards that the security forces fired on the protesters. As such, this video makes us nervous.
A large crowd can be seen gathering in the streets in a city named Tldo, north-west of Homs. Security forces have build up a heavy-defended checkpoint on one of the streets leading into the square:
1357 GMT: Sometimes something is lost in translation when we read the names that the activists in Syria call each Friday. Today is called the "We'll continue until the regime is toppled" Friday.
However, NOTHING is lost in translation when we receive reports like this. So far today, 28 people have been killed in Syria, according to the LCCS:
14 of them are in Idleb, 6 in Hama, 3 in Homs, 2 in Damascus, 2 in Daraa and 1 in Damascus Suburbs
1347 GMT: Security surrounds a mosque the in Al Qusour neighborhood of Daraa while people are trying to attend Friday prayers:
1342 GMT: Protesters chant after Friday Prayers and before the Syrian security opens fire in the Ghouta district of Homs:
1338 GMT: And now we've found breaking video, uploaded in the last 5 minutes, that shows chaos in Khalidiya, Homs, after shots ring out:
"Last night there were big protests in Al Ghouda neighbourhood and by the Omar Mosque near the sports stadium, so that is where security is heaviest," said the activist from the Homs Neighbourhoods Union who asked to be known only as Rawad.
"This morning between six and seven, Bashar al-Tadmoori was walking to his car near the Omar Mosque when security forces shot and killed him."
Dozens of checkpoints remain in place throughout the city and the activist said he had seen snipers on the roofs of state-owned buildings today.
Both the LCC opposition network and the Homs Neighbourhood Union reported several injuries in Homs' Khaldiyye neighbourhood after security forces opened fire on protestors, including an elderly man and a protestor shot in the chest.
In this video apparently filmed in Khaldiyye today before the attack protestors are seen releasing pigeons before starting a chant taken from the terraces of the local football stadium: "Victory to freedom!" They also chant at President Assad, demanding, “Go away, you and your party."
Now, the funeral has begun, but it is not without politics. According to the Guardian:
A senior cleric has accused Bahrain's Sunni rulers of treating Shia anti-government protesters seeking greater rights as "enemies of state. Sheik Isa Qassim's comments came as mourners were gathering for the funeral of a 35-year-old man who relatives say died after inhaling tear gas fired at protesters on Tuesday night. Sayyed Jawad Ahmed is to be buried later Friday in Bahrain'ss oil hub of Sitra.
Meanwhile, an activist sends us these pictures of the preparations for the funeral:
1258 GMT: The description of the video - "In Daraa, facing the bullets of the Shabiha with thrown stones and bare chests."
crowds chant the lyrics of a singer from Hama, Ibrahim Kashoush, who during Hama’s month of freedom from the security forces between June and July, led huge crowds in songs against the Assad family.
“We will throw off Bashar by our strength, Syria wants freedom!” chant the crowd in Homs.
“And we will throw off Bashar and Maher and all the Assad gangs, Syria wants freedom!”
The protestors also curse Naissa al-Assad, the mother of Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s former dictator: “Damn your soul Naissa, for these ruffian children.”
Protestors carry a banner criticising the policy of the Arab League and its chairman Nabil al-Araby who visited Damascus recently and said he had agreed a deal on reforms with President Assad.
1243 GMT: Video reportedly showing a very large rally in Binnish, Idlib Province, Syria:
1236 GMT: Human Rights Watch has called on the UN to investigate the shooting of a ambulance in Homs by unknown gunmen:
"A merciless attack on a Red Crescent ambulance is the latest evidence of grave danger to humanitarian workers in the embattled Syrian city of Homs," Human Rights Watch said.
"The September 7, 2011 attack on the ambulance by unknown assailants injured three rescuers and the wounded patient it was transporting. The attack highlights the need for an on-the-ground, independent investigation into human rights violations in Syria."
While we have no details on this specific attack, we do know those treating wounded protesters have been attacked in recent weeks, and last week we posted images of a hospital being boarded up so that wounded protesters would have nowhere to go. On the other hand, we've also seen ambulances being used by Syrian security forces in order to attack protesters.
1227 GMT: James Miller here to catch us up on the liveblog. In a separate post, Scott Lucas said that I was "capable hands" though I'm looking at the massive amount of news right now and panicking, so please be patient while I catch us up.
In Syria, 17 people have been killed, according to the
LCCS London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
1010 GMT: Political parties in Tunisia have agreed on a process leading to Parliamentary elections in just over a year. The document laid down a code of conduct for candidates for the Constitutional Assembly, including strict neutrality for places of worship, educational institutions, and government offices during campaigns.
Under the agreement, once the Constitutional Assembly elects a new President, the current transitional government will leave office.
The doctors say they were ordered to report patients who came in with bullet wounds; those being treated who were suspected of being anti-Qaddafi were taken away and have not been found since. Some medical personnel said they set up a network of secret field clinics throughout Tripoli. Private homes, schools, and other buildings were converted into makeshift operating theatres, supplied with medical equipment that the doctors smuggled out of the hospital's storage rooms.
Noureddine Hassan Aribi, a vascular surgeon recently appointed as director of Tripoli Central Hospital, said, "We created 24 secret field hospitals all over Tripoli. Some of the doctors were caught by Gaddafi's forces and were taken to prison. At least one of them was killed and another one is still missing."
And there is another dramatic claim in the report:
All the while life at the hospital had to continue as normally as possible, so as not to raise suspicions. That task was made all the more difficult by the presence of one particular surgeon in the hospital: Hana Qaddafi, the adopted daughter of the former Libyan leader.
Muammar Qaddafi once claimed that Hana had died in the 1986 US bombing of Tripoli. In fact, she finished medical school in Tripoli some years ago and recently started her second year as a general surgeon at the Central Hospital.
Her presence put extra pressure on the medical staff because none of the clandestine activities could be discussed in front of her.
"In the period before the uprising, Hana was doing a good job and she didn't bother anyone. But when the revolution started she showed the ugly face of the Gaddafi family. She started telling colleagues not to treat patients who were anti-Gaddafi, whom she called 'rats'," Aribi said.
Basma Qadmani, a spokeswoman for the group, said 60% of the Council consisted of opposition members inside Syria, with the rest made up of members of the Syrian diaspora.
The Council said it would seek to form a multiethnic and pluralist Syria, run without any political emphasis on religion. It hopes to start a satellite television broadcast, form a foreign office, and set up a legal branch to work on future court procedures to try crimes committed by the Assad regime.
0700 GMT: Some Syrian activists have been criticising the Turkish Government for complicity in the arrest and "confession" of Lieutenant Hussein al-Harmoush, who defected this spring and began broadcasting video statements denouncing the Syrian regime.
Al-Harmoush's "confession" was presented last night during the national news on Syrian State TV.
0640 GMT: Rumblings in Egypt....
Thousands of students have been involved in a strike and sit-in at American University Cairo over large increases in fees, exploitation of local workers, and claims over the university's conduct during the uprising against the Mubarak regime.
And, as the iconic protester "Sambo" (Mohamed Gad) was sentenced to five years in prison by a military tribunal, activists have been calling for marches to protest the re-activation of the Emergency Law --- a hated institution of the Mubarak years --- by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces.
0600 GMT: Earlier this morning on our Bahrain special entry, we posted a dramatic photograph of protesters celebrating the withdrawal of police from the village of Dair. This 8+-minute video appears to be footage of clashes in Dair before that withdrawal.
0530 GMT: It is Friday, so our first port call is likely to be Syria, where we will be looking for the daily level of anti-regime protests to reach its weekly peak. In particular, we will be seeing if there is the tenuous juxtaposition of relatively few demonstrations in the centre of the capital Damascus and the second city Aleppo but widespread protests beyond those regime bases. And we will also be watching the northwest, where the Syrian military carried out new operations this week to quash opposition.
Last night in the Damascus suburb of Douma, "Our revolution is peaceful":
But this Friday is likely to be different beyond Syria. As James Miller summarised in an EA special yesterday, there has been a resurgence of dissent in Bahrain, where the regime had claimed to have quelled protests with its security forces and "national dialogue". After the death from tear gas of a Bahraini man, Sayad Jawad, on Wednesday --- and the postponement of his funeral, as hospital authorities insisting on declaring he died from "sickle cell anemia", there were more protests in Sitra last night:
Chants against King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa: