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Bahrain: Two Separate Rallies for National Unity

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

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

Peaceful protesting continued in Bahrain on Tuesday as seven of the main opposition groups organized a National Unity rally starting from Salmaniya and Seef areas towards Pearl (Lulu) Roundabout. On Wednesday, a different rally is planned by another group called the Gathering of National Unity, with their own demands.

Among the differences in opinion between many of those camping on Pearl (Lulu) Roundabout [2] and the two different National Unity rallies, is whether the government and ruling royal family should be booted out entirely, or whether there could be reforms that uphold the principles of a democratic constitutional monarchy.

The seven groups who organized the rally on Tuesday co-signed a list of demands to the government which Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif has translated into English [3]. These include the creation of a new constitution for constitutional monarchy, and the neutralization of official state media.

Tuesday's rally

http://qik.com/video/38063234 [4]
Part of the rally uploaded by qik user Sayed Mahmood Al-Aali [4]

@hussain_info [5] ppl in the ongoing #unitBH rally of #feb14 chanting: united united & seeking victory for a better #Bahrain. towards #lulu

@MazenMahdi [6] More pics from the march to #lulu #bahrain #feb14 http://yfrog.com/h7r1gorj [7]

Women marching towards Pearl Roundabout from Salmaniya as part of the National Unity rally [8]

Women marching towards Pearl Roundabout from Salmaniya as part of the National Unity rally

There were comments on Twitter about the size of the rally.

@emoodz [9] Crowd is at least 30% less than that of last rally, still significant attendance.. Just not as large.. @ #lulu, #Bahrain

… and @MDaaysi responded that the previous, larger rally had been called by Shia scholars to honour martyrs of the protests.

@MDaaysi [10] @emoodz bare in mind … last rally was called for by the Islamic council … different sort of calling I guess :P

"No Sunni, No Shia, National Unity" [11]

"No Sunni, No Shia, National Unity"

More photos of the rally can be seen on Nabeel Rajab's Facebook album [12]

Wednesday's rally

On Wednesday, another “National Unity” rally will be organized, this one called by the Gathering of National Unity [13] [ar] headed by Islamic scholar Shaikh Abdullatif Al-Mahmood at Al-Fateh Mosque at 6pm local Bahrain time. This group also seeks major reforms.

Many people on social media wondered why there were two National Unity rallies organized by two different organizations on two different dates:

@leildehati [14] funny how there are 2 different national unity marches planned; pro gov & anti. i think that if revolution happens it'll be bloody #bahrain

Mohammed Al-Othman says on Facebook [15]:

الوحدة الوطنية المفترى عليها في البحرين: اليوم مسيرة باسم الوحدة الوطنية وغداً اعتصام باسم الوحدة الوطنية!! هل ذلك يرتبط بمسمى البحرين، يعني بحر + بحر = بحرين. وبالتالي وحدة وطنية + وحدة وطنية = وحدتين وطنيتين؟!! دار راسي الله يدور راس من كان السبب…!!!

The abused term of “National Unity” in Bahrain: Today (Tuesday) a march calling for National Unity and tomorrow (Wednesday) a rally calling for National Unity!! Does it have a connection that the name Bahrain (which means two seas in Arabic) means ‘sea’ + ‘sea’ = Bahrain (two seas), therefore National Unity + National Unity = Two National Unities?!! My head is spinning, may Allah spin the head who did this to us!!!

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