By Souad Mekhennet, 21 April 2012
MANAMA, Bahrain — After a night of clashes between antigovernment demonstrators and the police, a protester was found dead Saturday near the capital, as Bahrain struggled to restore calm before an international auto race on Sunday. Opposition groups blamed the police for the death.
Bahrain, a Sunni-ruled monarchy in the Persian Gulf, has beaten back persistent protests from the country’s Shiite majority for more than a year. The protesters have intensified their actions in recent days, hoping to use the international attention focused on the country during the Formula One Grand Prix race to press their grievances.
By Souad Mekhennet and Rick Gladstone, 20 April 2012
MANAMA, Bahrain — The Sunni monarchy has been hoping that the Formula One Grand Prix, its showcase annual event, would restore Bahrain’s stature as a stable Persian Gulf kingdom, blighted after months of antigovernment protests by the Shiite majority that led to the cancellation of the race last year.
Instead, the opposite seems to be happening. While Bahraini officials vow that the Grand Prix will be held as planned on Sunday, Shiite opposition groups and rights organizations have denounced the race as a public relations stunt that has sought to mask what they call the monarchy’s failures to address causes of political discontent here.
By Brad Spurgeon, 15 April 2012
SHANGHAI — As I wrestled my way out of the sardine can of a Metro train car packed with racegoers for the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday I said to myself, “Hey, wait a minute, this series is not supposed to have succeeded in China! Why do I see thousands of spectators disembarking from this train, and only a tiny minority of them being foreigners?”
20 Dec 2011
MANAMA, BAHRAIN — Women in Bahrain are known to play more of a role in public life than in most neighboring countries. They drive, vote, and some are active in politics.
So it was no surprise to find on arriving here that Bahraini women were also prominent in protests. During a recent demonstration outside the U.N. office in Manama, women, most of them wearing black abayas, stood apart from male peers, carrying pictures of men who they say had been tortured and signs asking for global support.
28 Oct 2011
In Rubble-Strewn Sitra, Faces of the Young Foretell a Grim Future for Bahrain
On a recent night, after clashes that erupt almost daily, one of them entered the house of a relative, squinting as though he had stumbled from a dungeon into the sun. Tear gas. His friend smirked as he showed the smooth scars left by rubber bullets fired at his leg and chest. Another shrugged as he removed his shirt to reveal a back scarred by pellets.
“Sitra,” said the friend, Sanad, “is the crisis.”
By J. DAVID GOODMAN,11 Oct 2011
Arabloggers, a recommendation: Don’t hashtag the name of the country we’re discussing – you’ll get the nastiest trolling…. #AB11
That bit of advice about Bahrain, delivered to Twitter followers of a conference of Arab bloggers in Tunisia last week, highlights an often aggressive effort on social media to cajole, harass and intimidate commentators and journalists who write about the protests in Bahrain and the government’s response.
Security forces clashed with demonstrators along a central highway west of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday, in what appeared to be among the largest protests in months.
The Interior Ministry acknowledged that security forces had moved to clear the area, but it blamed “vandals” for blocking the highway after the funeral of a teenager who activists said was killed by police officers the day before. “This led to interference of security forces to bring the situation to normal,” it said in a statement.
Bahraini judicial authorities on Wednesday nullified the convictions and harsh prison terms given to 20 medical workers last week by a special security court prosecuting cases arising from civil unrest in the country. The medical workers were ordered released from custody, with new trials scheduled in a civilian court.
The decision appeared to be at least a tactical retreat by’s Sunni monarchy in the face of strong international protests over the punishments, including criticism from the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. The special court had sentenced some doctors and nurses among the defendants to terms as long as 15 years because they had treated demonstrators who were wounded by security forces. Most of the protesters are members of the Shiite majority in the tiny Persian Gulf country.