This post is part of our special coverage Bahrain Protests 2011.
This Tuesday 14 February, 2012, Bahrainis practiced their daily habit of protesting but this time with larger numbers trying to reach the former epicentre of demonstrations in 2011 – Pearl (Lulu) Roundabout in the capital Manama.
February 14 marked the one year anniversary of their revolution, which has been severely repressed by the regime backed by the troops of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force.
Since the revolutionary protests started, tens of people have been killed either by bullets, tear gas suffocation, torture, or by police cars running them over. Many opposition figures, medics, athletes, students, netizens, journalists and unknown protesters are still in jail or facing trial. Yet, oppression has not succeeded in holding the protests back.
Hacking for Bahrain
The day of the anniversary started off with the online group ‘Anonymous’ taking down the websites of a United States tear gas manufacturing company, pro-government newspaper Al-Ayaam, and the Bahrain government.
Anonymous published a statement about what they called #OperationBahrain – part of their #HackVDay:
So you war profiteering all crazy, selling mad chemical weapons to militaries and cop shops around the world, thinking you will get away unscathed by the rising tides of insurrection? Think again, assholes. Combined Systems, lay down your arms: you just lost the game. In the past we have marched on your offices in Jamestown, Pennsylvania: now it is time to march on your websites. All your “less than lethal” arms were simply no match for our 9000 cocks and mad black hat technique. We came, we saw, we rooted and rm'd your website. Umad?
Marching and tear gas
Pictures of protesters attempting to reach Pearl Roundabout were published through Twitter. The roundabout, where major protests took place in 2011, was demolished by the regime to erase the memory of the revolution; the site was enclosed by wires before Tuesday to prevent any gatherings.
These were some of the early pictures of the protests:
One of the notable pictures of the day was posted by Twitter user @Moawen from Sanabis:
Bahraini activist in exile, Maryam Al-Khawaja, kept carrying out updates online:
@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: Two young men, Mohammed AlHaiki and Mohammed Jaffar, who walked to pearl square carrying only a #bahrain flag were arrested.
News of tear gas and police presence came from different parts of the country:
@drFatimaHj: Shooting is continuous now #BaniJamra sound grenades and tear gas although there is no crowd to disperse!!
Mohammed Ashoor tweeted updates from different parts of Bahrian. He posted:
@mohdashoor: Sanabis village has been under heavy attack since early morning & many arrests, house raids & teargas showers reported!!
Twitter user Ashoor (@mohdashoor) posted this picture from Daih Village:
Other pictures were tweeted of tear gas filling several villages. This one is from Sanabis:
This video (uploaded to YouTube by KhabbazoOo [ar]) shows a house burning because of security bombs, according to the description:
Stopping political naturalization has been one of the main demands by protestors in Bahrain. This tweet came in relevance:
@JShahryar: Bahraini just asked me on Twitter how to say “Don't Shoot!” in Urdu so the Pakistani/Indian cops won't shoot them
As usual, the police did not hesitate in blocking or arresting protesters. One Twitter user posted:
@ba7rainiDXB: An blonde expat was just roughed up by the police next Gufool traffic light !! He was walking towards lulu.
@BHRS2001: Nine women arrested this morning from Sanabis village, being kept at AlHoora Police Station
@BHRS2001: Isa Ibrahim has broken both his legs after being run over and is in AlQal'aa hospital
@iFattema: Teargas enters to the house. we can't do anything. anything..they still shooting in an exaggerated manner.
This is a picture of protesters laying down before getting arrested:
Nabeel Rajab, a well-known human rights activist who moderates the Bahrain Human Rights Center and the Gulf Human Rights Center, has been calling on people to show up and use the revolution's first anniversary to let the regime know that the struggle is not stopping and that the people still demand democracy, freedom and justice, as he said in this video:
The role Rajab has played in leading the uprising in past months has irritated the regime; he was beaten up last month and as he was marching this Tuesday, he was detained for several hours alongside some American activists who came to monitor the situation.
Reuters correspondent Andrew Hammond posted this picture of Nabeel Rajab saying the activist was sitting after what appeared to be an illegal stroll, with riot cop guarding:
‘Witness Bahrain’ is a team of Americans who went to document violations during the revolution's first anniversary. Six of them were arrested and will be deported according to their website statement. One of them is activist Radhika Sainath who has talked to Los Angles Times describing the details of her arrest.
Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested two days before the anniversary for the second time in few months. She is a prominent blogger and the daughter of opposition leader Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who is hunger striking as he serves a life sentence in jail. This tweet came in remembrance:
@Freealkhawaja: As @angryarabiya spends her 3rd day in prison 4 attempting 2 return 2 Pearl Square, #Bahrain govt renews violence against protesters
News of slow Internet and disrupted television channels has also circulated through social media sites. One of the BBC's shows tweeted in this regard:
@BBC_WHYS: British expat says #BBC World Service has been shut down in Bahrain.
This post is part of our special coverage Bahrain Protests 2011.
Yes it was the first anniversary but not for a revolution, it was the anniversary for the day people stabbed our country in the back and started to create chaos and threaten the stability of this great island.
I would like to clarify a couple of things:
1. Government website was NOT hacked, internet connection was generally slow in Bahrain, but definitely not hacked.
2. I personally think tear gas was a must on the 14th of feb. Rioters forcefully wanting to enter and restricted area is against the law and must be stopped. No civilians are allowed in that area and that should be respected by all citizens and residents on this island.
3. You post pictures of tear gassed areas, how come you don’t post pictures of the fires caused by the protesters overuse of home-made petrol bombs? where are the pictures of the citizens damaged cars and private properties from the rioters hurling rocks at them during the protests? Where are the pictures of the injured policemen who were attacked by masked rioters? You can’t just report one side of the story, be fair and report the whole story.
4. Witness Bahrain team entered the kingdom under false pretenses, getting a tourists visa and provided false hotel names. Not only that but they also participated in an illegal rally which is also illegal for “tourists” to take part of. Overall they have broken the bahraini law in several ways and deserved to be deported. If you are a “human rights activist” and want to come over to our country to observe the situation, at least have the decency to get the right paperwork and proper visa!
@Mona, Thanks for your awesome coverage to the pro-democracy uprisings in Bahrain which was “bandoned by the Arabs, forsaken by the West and forgotten by the world”
> Yes it was the first anniversary but not for a revolution, it was the anniversary for the day people stabbed our country in the back and started to create chaos and threaten the stability of this great island.
No dear, it was the 10th anniversary of the betrayal and treachery of Dictator Hamad when he double-crossed his people and back down on his promises of introducing a constitutional monarchy but rather introduced his own dictatorial monarchy when he imposed his own constitution on the people of Bahrain
> 1. Government website was NOT hacked, internet connection was generally slow in Bahrain, but definitely not hacked.
bahrain.bh was certainly brought down by #Anonymous
> 2. I personally think tear gas was a must on the 14th of feb. Rioters forcefully wanting to enter and restricted area is against the law and must be stopped. No civilians are allowed in that area and that should be respected by all citizens and residents on this island.
Why is it a restricted area?
> 3. You post pictures of tear gassed areas, how come you don’t post pictures of the fires caused by the protesters overuse of home-made petrol bombs?
After one whole year of patience and peaceful protests that was met by brutal crackdown, you wonder why SOME of the protesters lost their patience?!
>4. Witness Bahrain team entered the kingdom under false pretenses, getting a tourists visa and provided false hotel names.
How come the government of Bahrain don’t allow many neutral media agency to enter Bahrain to cover the events?