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Bahrain: One Country, Two Rallies

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Bahrain, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Politics, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011 [1].

Seven days have passed since Bahrain's Day of Wrath protests which started on February 14, causing the death of eight protesters in the capital Manama. While protesters continue to camp in Pearl (Lulu) Roundabout, two rallies, one in support of the protests and another in support of the royal family are taking place as I type.

After the country's Crown Prince called for calm and dialogue, anti government or pro-democracy protesters have enjoyed peaceful protests at Lulu Roundabout since Saturday. This call also has encouraged what many have called the “silent majority” to speak up and show their support to the royal family, led by prominent Islamic scholar Shaikh Abdullatif Al-Mahmood.

Tonight two rallies set out at the same time, 7pm local time, starting at two locations in the capital Manama. The first being a student rally starting from Dana Mall, within sight of the Lulu Roundabout from Al-Qufool intersection near Salmaniya Hospital to the Lulu Roundabout.

@MDaaysi [2] Now heading to Dana roundabout for the student rally ! #feb14 #Bahrain

@MDaaysi [3] Its confirmed ! Student rally starting from dq (Fast food restaurant at Al-Qufool intersection) ! Please retweet ! #feb14 #Bahrain

The second rally will be at Al-Fateh mosque, which also held a pro government pro King rally last Friday. Many #silentmajority tweeps headed to the rally a few hours beforehand and explained the reason for the rally:

@SaraMahmood8 [4] I want 2 clear something out 4 some ignorant bias ppl:the gathering n alfateh is a meeting 4 national unity..despite of “sect” #UniteBH

@MayMarzooq [5] @yslaise those who died in lulu opened dialogue possibilities so ppl in AlFateh will write their demands 2 CP (Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khallifa) so u figure it out!!

@EbtisamBahar [6] Flags all over the mosque's yard, all in unity #Feb14 #Bahrain http://twitpic.com/428qxi [7]

People gathering at Al-Fateh Mosque before Isha prayers, and waving Bahraini flags [7]

People gathering at Al-Fateh Mosque before Isha prayers, and waving Bahraini flags

@Hazem_Janahi [8] Unbelievable crowds in Al Fateh!!!! I've haven't seen something like this in #bahrain #silentmajority

Some rumours were flying across Bahrain's network on social media sites and Blackberry Broadcasts of the need to show the rally's participants Smart Card and ID to the organisers. This was however quashed by “14th February | Our hearts fly with joy [9]” Facebook Page [ar]:

14 فبراير | قلوبنا للبحرين تتطاير ( اكبر تجمع وطني ) لا صحة لخبر يجب على الجميع احضار البطاقة الذكية هذه وسائل المعارضين لتقليل الأعداد يرجى من الجميع أخذ الحيطة والحذر قبل نشر الأخبار وعدم الالتفات للرسائل الخاطئة …

“The rumour about the need to bring your Smart ID card are false in an attempt to make the turnout smaller. Please be wary of spreading false news and ignoring such news”

@Othman_Janahi [10] @JustAmira just wanted to clarify the Id thing in AlFateh is a rumor No one needs to bring it or anything, I am here & no one asked me 4 it

Some tweeps not happy with the seemingly growing divide between Bahrain's people, started using the hashtag #UniteBH and have called for both rallies to meet at Lulu Roundabout or Al-Fateh.

@NoorAlHaji [11] Dear Lulu crowd, why don't u walk 2 alfate7 & exchange flowers with ur brothers & sisters? #UniteBH

@hhusaini [12] @moalkhalifa Dear marchers at fatah #bahrain, you want unity? Peace? Take a rose and go to #lulu and share a moment of silence for the dead.

Tweep Ehsan Al-Kooheji calls for both rallies to meet halfway and acknowledge each other.

@ehsankooheji [13] Dear #Lulu AND #Fateh, why dont you BOTH start marching to meet each other halfway to shake hands & stop pretending other side doesnt exist.

In reply to @hhusaini, Tweep Mohamed Al-Khalifa answered:

@moalkhalifa [14] @hhusaini I will :)

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011 [1].