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Bahrain: Massive Rally Against the Regime

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Bahrain, Citizen Media, Governance, Politics, Protest

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

“Down down with Hamad” chanted tens of thousands of people against Bahrain's King Hamad, as they occupied one of the main highways in Bahrain, nearby the Pearl Roundabout [2], the symbol of Bahrain's revolution.

This massive march on the Budaiya Highway on Friday 9 March, 2012, came to renew public demands against the tyranny of the Bahraini regime which has been implicated in the killings, arrests, corruption, oppression and discrimination of citizens, according to a fact-finding mission, called the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, commissioned by the Bahraini king to look into what happened during the first two months of the protests in Bahrain [PDF report [3]].

Last March 2011, the Peninsula Shield Force [4] troops entered Bahrain, led by Saudi Arabia, to repress protests and enact martial laws that led to the arrest of prominent opposition figures. Most of them were put on military trial and sentenced to life imprisonment, including human rights defender Abdulhadi Khawaja [5], In absentia, blogger Ali Abdulimam [6]was also sentenced to 15 years in jail.

So far, there have been more than 70 people killed since the uprising – shot, tortured to death, run over by cars [7], or suffocated by the excessive use of tear gas. The way the regime keeps ignoring protestors’ demands and international calls to release prisoners and start reform, has spurred protesters to keep on demonstrating and speaking up through social media.

Bahraini activist Maryam Al-Khawaja [8]posts a picture of the Friday rally:



Twitter user @DominicKavakeb [10] posted this photograph of two Bahraini elderly men taking part in the rally:

Imaged posted by @DominicKavakeb [11]

Imaged posted by @DominicKavakeb

And YouTube user bilad14feb [12]posted this video of the rally commenting “Bahraini opposition march (Here we are Bahrain) 9 march 2012.” The video shows the large number of protesters:

Mohammed Ashoor comments on the number of people who attended the rally saying:

@MohmdAshoor [13]: I never liked the numbers game, all I know is that it was the biggest march I've been to

While Al Dawar tweeted [14] this photograph showing protesters carrying a huge banner against dialogue with the King. The banner, at the centre of the photograph reads [ar]: No to Dialogue with Murderers.

Image posted by @al_dawar14 [14]

Image posted by @al_dawar14

Another picture tweeted by lawyer @reemashallan [15] shows a slogan against sectarianism “We are Brothers, Shia and Sunni, we won't sell out this country”:

Image posted by @reemashallan [15]

Image posted by @reemashallan

The National Democratic Action Society (Waad) posted this photo from the rally demanding the freedom of Waad's imprisoned general secretary Ibrahim Shareef, who was among the opposition leaders sentenced by a military court:

Image posted by @Waad_bh [16]

Image posted by @Waad_bh

As the rally was happening, news of yet another protester's death was spread through Twitter. Human rights activist Said Yousif tweeted:

@SAIDYOUSIF [17]: #Bahrain Fadhel merza the young man from Duraz who was shot in the head with a gas canister when he was peacfuly protesting just passed away

The following day, on Saturday, crowds went to the funeral of the 21-year-old protester:

Zainab Al Khawajah, who tweets as Angry Arabiya, was at the funeral procession and tweeted her observations.

@angryarabiya [18]: Fadels body being carried by the martyrs as they shout “down down Hamad!!”

Image posted by @angryarabiya [18]

Image posted by @angryarabiya

Other Twitter users like Mohammed Ashoor were also there. Ashoor shares the following image from the funeral:

@MohmdAshoor [19]: funeral in Duraz right now for 21 year old #fadhel who was shot directly in the head with a gas canister

Image posted by @MohmdAshoor [19]

Image posted by @MohmdAshoor

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