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    Showing posts with label Arab Spring. Show all posts

    Bahrain Protest Violence: Police Fire Tear Gas, Stun Grenades At Demonstrators

    Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas and stun grenades Thursday to disperse thousands of opposition supporters gathered near the square that was the epicenter of the nation's Shiite-led demonstrations earlier this year, an activist said.
    The violence is a setback to efforts by the tiny island's Sunni rulers trying to open reconciliation talks with the Shiite opposition in the Gulf kingdom.
    Activist Nabeel Rajab said the protesters at Manama's Pearl Square chanted: "Down, down Hamad" – a reference to the Bahraini monarch. They also demanded that all demonstrators, opposition leaders and activists, detained during the deadly crackdown on the Shiite-led campaign for political freedom and greater rights, be released.
    No injuries were immediately reported during Thursday's demonstration.
    The violence came a day after Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa announced the creation of an independent commission that will investigate allegations that protesters' rights were violated during the anti-government demonstrations that erupted in February.
    The announcement was an apparent effort by the Sunni monarch to draw opposition groups into the government-sponsored talks, set to begin on Saturday.
    Washington has encouraged dialogue in the island nation, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, and had urged the monarchy to meet some of the opposition's demands.
    But the king's appeal for dialogue got a cool reception from opposition groups. The leaders of the biggest Shiite party, Al Wefaq, have not yet decided whether they will join the talks.
    Reports by Bahrain's rights groups that another protester died on Thursday as a result of injuries he sustained during the unrest could further erode Wefaq's appetite for reconciliation talks with the monarchy.

    Gaddafi's Female Fighters Are Latest Weapon Against NATO, Rebels

    With Obama insisting the "noose is tightening" around Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the embattled Libyan leader has unveiled a new tactic by which to portray an image of internal solidarity: women at arms.

    As the Guardian is reporting, a government-sanctioned "graduation ceremony" for women who had been given weapons training in defense of the regime was held in the town of Bani Walid. Invited and escorted by government minders, the journalists arrived to find 500 women of all ages clapping, singing and waving flags in Gaddafi's honor.

    "We love Muammar Gaddafi and we want to save our country," 14-year-old Fatima Hassan is quoted as saying. "He made us happy. He makes us eat and makes the country free to do what we want. Before, we weren't free. My grandparents tell us that before Gaddafi, it was bad, there was no bread. He saved us."

    Though reporters are said to have pondered just how much the event had been stage managed in advance, the images of fearsome-looking Libyan women -- from young teens to grandmothers -- wielding rifles and weapons are nonetheless frightening.

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