Bahrain: #Hungry4BH Trends Worldwide

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

The number of Bahrainis active online has increased significantly since the start of the country's uprising on February 14, 2011. A year on, people still turn to their keyboards, assuming the role of citizen journalists, to documenting the continuing violations committed by the regime against protesters, activists, and others who speak up and demand freedom and equality.

Abdulhadi Khawaja, a Bahraini human rights activist, is considered to be a prominent figure for his people considering his long struggle against the regime. He was imprisoned several times, went into exile, established both the Gulf Center for Human Rights and Bahrain Center for Human Rights, which are both now headed by his fellow activist Nabeel Rajab.

Khawaja brought attention to the struggle of his people and the government's decision to give him a life sentence ‘for attempting to overthrow the regime’ was faced with condemnation from the international community.

#Hungry4BH trends worldwide on Twitter

#Hungry4BH trends worldwide on Twitter

Parallel to their online efforts to draw international attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in their country, Bahrainis have also conducted a series of hunger strikes to demand the release of all those arrested, brutalized, and sentenced to jail for their support and participation in the pro-democracy movement.

The medics have previously done it and were bailed out yet still face trials, where they are set to serve between five to 15 years in prison if charged. Their crime, as they admit, was treating protesters attacked and maimed by the government forces.

Khawaja, and several other detainees, went on hunger strike and this Saturday marked his 16th day of hunger strike. Twitter users reported that Khawaja was transferred to the hospital as his health status worsened.

To show solidarity with detainees on hunger strike, Bahrainis planned for several days to tweet using the hashtag #Hungry4BH aiming to make it trend worldwide and thus shed light at the plight of the country's detainees. It sounded impossible considering the small population of Bahrain but the international tweeting support helped in making it happen.

Here are some of the tweets posted:

Sign protesting for Khawaja back in 2004 posted by @almatrook94

Sign protesting for Khawaja back in 2004 posted by @almatrook94

@angryarabiya: 1st months of detention my dad was tortured severely, he went on hungerstrike demandin they stop torturing other prisoners.

Blogger @angryarabiya joins a protest near UN demanding to release her father (posted by @lady_7oor)

Blogger @angryarabiya joins a protest near UN demanding to release her father (posted by @lady_7oor)

@ba7rainiDXB: He didnt discriminate,he asked 4 universal rights,he believed in no sects whether religious or political Free Abdulhadi

Protesters wearing t-shirts with Khawaja's picture (posted by @Shearer84bh)

Protesters wearing t-shirts with Khawaja's picture (posted by @Shearer84bh)

@HayatKhalaf: Its my 3rd day of hungerstrike on a school day, its tiring yet I won't stop until the release of Alkhawaja!

@KhawajaStrike: Today #Alkhawaja was transferred to hospital for treatment but doctors had difficulty putting IV for him as his veins have shrunk

Front Line Defenders posted the following video saying:

At the 6th Dublin Platform hosted by Front Line Defenders, over 130 Human Rights Defenders from more than 80 countries protested at the Saudi Embassy in Dublin demanding the freedom of their colleague and former Front Line staff member Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who is facing a life sentence in a Bahraini jail. Abdulhadi was detained after Saudi forces entered Bahrain and were in control of the country's security forces.

You can watch the video here:

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


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