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Tuesday's Bahrain Live Coverage: The Regime Plays for Time
1430 GMT: Police repeatedly fire tear gas into Diraz on Tuesday night to disperse protesting youth:
1400 GMT: While there was marches in villages across Bahrain for May Day, authorities were able to prevent a mass rally, denying a permit to the opposition society Al Wefaq. The society later issued a statement:
In a clear violation of basic human rights, the authorities in Bahrain prevent the people from expressing their opinion peacefully through a march intended to be held in the heart of the capital Manama.
The rally was to start from Rass-Roman area towards Bab Al-Bahrain ( Bahrain Gate) in solidarity with the workers on their special day. This is not the first time the authority refuses to authorize rallies organized by the opposition parties in an attempt to keep the capital Manama away from any kind of protests.
In groups of ten, the riot police patrolled all the suburbs of Manama and used batons and stun grenades to disperse any gathering. Police were seen to be carrying the shotgun (bird shot) weapon among all the groups which were patrolling Manama. Shotgun is an internationally banned weapon and cannot be used against peaceful protesters.
Despite road blockades made by the police, people were so resolute to reach Manama. Leaders of the opposition societies gathered near the Bahrain Gate insisting on their right of expressing their opinion peacefully and freely.
1050 GMT: We were planning a dissection of the cheerleading for the Bahraini regime by Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations after he learned all about the country in a three-day visit arranged by the Royal Family, but events have overtaken Husain's propaganda.
And Issandr El Amrani, writing on the website The Arabist may well have done the job for us:
The most insidious thing about Husain's writing on Bahrain is this faux act he does of pretending no one understands anything about the place, the regional setting in which the conflict is happening, and his insinuation that the attention on human rights abuses has created a warped view of the situation. Of course the world understands the situation: the US basically endorsed the Saudi intervention, it's hardly raised by the EU, [British Prime Minister] David Cameron gave a great welcome to the Crown Prince a few months ago, etc.
The argument for a negotiated outcome is a strong one given the reality that the Khalifas' supporters will not allow them to fall. But even accounting for radicals in the opposition and Iranian influence (which is disputed), the terms Husain presents are essentially that the opposition has to agree to the Khalifas' terms, while the latter should be under no obligation to to yield or be held accountable. Ed Husain is taking the Khalifas' spin hook, line and sinker — and most surprising of all this appears to be genuine naiveté on his part. The sad thing is, the Khalifas — try as they might — could not buy that kind of PR.
1040 GMT: Maryam Abu Deeb sent a series of messages this morning about the court appearance of her father, Bahraini Teachers Society President Mahdi Abu Deeb, detained since April 2011 and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a military court:
@MARYAMALKHAWAJA Case postponed to the 30th of may, lawyer's request of setting dad free was defined— Maryam Abu Deeb (@MaryamAbuDeeb) May 2, 2012
0855 GMT: Maryam Alkhawaja gives further information on her sister Zainab's situation. The charges over the Manama protest and the 21 April demonstration on a Bahraini highway remain --- the next hearings in the cases will be 6 and 15 May.
0830 GMT: Wafi Almajed, the husband of activist Zainab Alkhawaja, reports that she has been acquitted on one charge; however, she will remain in detention, with the postponement of the case over her arrest during a protest in the Bahraini capital:
Zainab Case on bdf hospital judge ruled. Not guilty— Wafi Al-Majed (@fetusbahrain) May 2, 2012
For manama case post ponded till 6 may with continue detention— Wafi Al-Majed (@fetusbahrain) May 2, 2012
0800 GMT: Activist Said Yousif is prevented from attending the hearings for detained colleague Zainab Alkhawaja:
0705 GMT: We begin this morning with a feature on one activist in the Alkhawaja family, analysing the politics around the BBC's five-minute interview with detained hunger striker Abdulhadi Alkhawaja on Tuesday.
And we watch for developments around another activist in the family: Zainab Alkhawaja, the daughter of Abdulhadi, appears in court today. She faces charges from three arrests, one last month during a protest in Manama, one earlier month as she tried to see her father in military hospital, and one on 21 April as she protested in the middle of a highway (see inset photo). She has been detained since the latter incident.