The BBC World Service show "World Have Your Say" broadcast a show last week that concerned the media war in Bahrain. Among the topics discussed was the government PR machine, though unbeknownst to the BBC, one of the guests on the show is the managing director of a company who receives money from the government to do PR. Another guest on the show was also suggested to the BBC by a PR company connected to the royal family, though the BBC were quick to emphasise that she was not representing the royal family.
Entries in tear gas (8)
2221 GMT: For several hours, activists have been reporting a security operation against the town of Taseel, in Daraa province, Syria. LCCS confirms that report, and also posts these details about the condition on the ground there.
Security forces have launched a security operation in the town since last Wednesday up until today. They launched a detention campaign where more than 50 men got arrested; one of them was Dr. Arshad Al-Qaddah. Also, a house-to-house raiding campaign of all the homes, public places in the town was launched. The pharmacies, clinics, commercial shops and private properties were subotaged amid sporadic gunfire and extensive deployment of fully-equipped security members and thugs (Shabeha). Snipers were deployed on the rooftops all around the town.
2210 GMT: Despite the daily bombardment of Homs, Syria, there have been almost nightly rallies such as these in the Qusour district, just a few blocks from some of the areas that have been intensely shelled in recent weeks:
We have been sent a video from Alquraiya, produced by an opposition group, giving more insight into the photograph we posted this morning of protesters in front of a blanket of tear gas, after a march was attacked by security forces. The footage of the extraordinary amount of tear gas used by police on defiant demonstrators again raises concerns over police tactics and the short- and long-term health risks of exposure to such a volume of tear gas.
At EA, we hear daily accounts from people in Bahrain who experience the tear gas fired in villages and residential areas and even inside homes, but what does that mean beyond their stories?
In Bayada, Homs, protesters run through the trash to escape sniper fire.
See also Friday 23 December LiveBlog: Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Damascus Bombs
Bahrain Special: Last Night It Rained Tear Gas br>
1710 GMT: The "Strike of Dignity", shutting down shops and schools in support of protests against the regime, continues across Syria. Footage from Kisweh outside Damascus:
1635 GMT: Upsetting scenes continue to unfold across the Middle East today, whilst the suffering wrought by yesterdays events comes to us through videos and reports. None of this violence has stopped the spirit of protest, with demonstrations taking place in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and beyond.
Click here to read article in Arabic. Thanks to مترجِم 14 فبراي for the translation.
Visiting the website of Condor Technologies, a Brazilian "non-lethal" arms company accused this week of exporting tear gas to Bahrain, one is instantly impressed that they have thought very hard about how to present their business. The front page picture asks us to ponder: what on earth is "Lethality Reduction"?
Last week, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry released a 501-page report detailing the human rights abuses committed by the Bahraini regime at the height of unrest in February and March (See the text and our separate analysis.)
In response, the King and his advisors have decided to shake up their law enforcement. And they have picked an American, with vast experience in handling difficult situations, to help sort things out:
Bahrain's Interior Ministry says a former Miami police chief will lead training programs for the Gulf kingdom's forces as part of reforms after an independent report detailed abuses against pro-reform protesters.
The announcement Thursday says John Timoney will head a team of law enforcement advisers from the U.S. and Britain.
Well, that's good news, right? The Bahraini police force needs some reform, a clean image, and some accountability. Clearly, they also need training, leadership, and restraint, so Timoney's appointment must be the Kingdom's attempt to address the problems raised by the BICI report.
Men form a protective circle around a woman, amidst reports of abuse by security forces of female protesters
1700 GMT: News has just arrived that Kamal Ghanzouri has been appointed as the new prime minister of Egypt by SCAF. Ghanzouri is a former prime minister, who served under ex-President Hosni Mubarak from 1996 to 1999 and has a PhD from the University of Michigan.
Protesters chanting after police force withdrew from the village of Dair, 15 September
I remember when I read my first article about protests in Bahrain. It was short: in the second paragraph, the author said that the King of Bahrain was going to give the people of his country more than $2650 per family. The conclusion was that it was highly unlikely that protests would catch on.
It's hard to be more wrong.
More than seven months later, and protests are becoming a nightly occurrence. The protest movement has been reinvigorated in recent weeks, partially inspired by Libya, partially inspired by fresh martyrs, entirely dedicated to regain the momentum they had at the start.
On Wednesday, 31 August, 14 year old Ali Jawad was shot through the eye with a tear gas canister that fired directly at civilians by police who were standing less than 30 feet away.
Within a week, protests were growing, specifically in Sitra, the home of young Jawad. On 4 September, we received this video, a man standing in from of a police convoy, refusing to stand down: