New Year and Old Habits in Bahrain

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011/2012.

While countries around the world ushered in the New Year with fireworks and celebrations, a special line-up of treats from the authorities was awaiting Bahraini protesters.

To mark the beginning of the new year, the Bahrain News Agency published a statement to celebrate the achievements of the previous year, saying:

The Kingdom's impeccable human rights record and bright image remain intact and undistorted by any futile false allegations propagated by hostile megaphones at international functions.

At the same time, Bahrainis experienced New Year's day with many twists. Luckily, some of them have been documented by netizens and found their way to the world wide web, showing the world “impeccable human rights record” and “false allegations” the government is talking about.

Blogger @chanadbh tweeted the link to a video and added a sarcastic comment:

@chanadbh: #Bahrain police officer attacks stationary car with bricks, in self-defense of course …


The video shows a riot policeman throwing a brick at a parked car in the village of Jurdab.

Dr Abdulhadi Khalaf, an academic professor who was recently stripped of his Bahraini nationality, shared another video and commented:

 بلطجية الداخلية تحاول كسرأحد أالأبواب****ألهذا السبب تكثر الإصابات بين البلطجية؟

@Abdulhadikhalaf: Ministry of Interior thugs try to break a door****is that why there are numerous injuries among thugs?

@AHRAR_MURQOBAN, a Twitter account dedicated to publishing news of a village in Sitra, published a video of a similar incident. The police forces in this video seem to be speaking in Urdu:

 فيديو : المرتزقة وهم يخططون لأقتحام منزل – سترة – ميادين اللؤلؤ

@AHRAR_MURQOBAN: Mercenaries planning to raid a house – Sitra

The haziness in the video is not from fog – but as a result of the heavy teargas thrown on villages on a daily basis.

Human rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja also shared a video which shows police forces macing women – reportedly – for no apparent reason:

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: Security forces pepper spray women in their faces for no reason RT@: 1-1-13  

Twitter user Mahmood Alshaikh tweeted yet another video which shows that no good dead goes unpunished in Bahrain:

#البحرين – سترة: مطاردة الشباب بعد محاولتهم انقاذ عائلة مختنقة 1 1 2013: 

@M_Alshaikh: Bahrain – Sitra [An island in the east of Bahrain] : Youth chased after trying to rescue a family from suffocation 2013 1 1

Last year, Physicians for Human Rights [@P4HR] stated in their report

Injured protesters whom PHR investigators examined suffered from blunt force trauma and lacerations to
the head, torso, and limbs due to the impact of metal canisters being fired at them by law enforcement officials at close range.

A clear example of that was tweeted by 14 Feb Media Network, a network specialized in publishing news of Bahrain, on New Year's Day:

#المنامة: طلقة مباشرة تصيب أحد الثوار #ميادين_اللؤلؤ 01 01 2013: 

@Feb14Media: Bahrain | Manama : a straight shot hits a protester

Another very similar and clearer video was posted earlier by the same network:

#سترة #سفالة : طلقة مباشرة تصيب رأس أحد المتظاهرين 1/1/2013#البحرين

Sitra – Sufala [A village in the island of Sitra] : a straight shot to the head of a protester 1/1/2013

Police forces must be trained not to discriminate, not even age discrimination as this small child (comments say he is four years old) was not excluded from the joy of celebrating New Year's – the Bahraini way. Moawen explains:

@Moawen: Riot police shoot tear gases that covered a small kid  continuous violations against children's rights:

Journalist Dima Khatib then shared a photo that clearly shows the incident:

@Dima_Khatib: Bahrain… again ! RT @mohmdashoor: any chance you saw this from yesterday? 4 y/o tear-gassed

Photo shows how a small child was teargassed, picture published by @14febonline

Using its Twitter account, the Ministry of Interior issued a formal reply on the events of New Year's day, saying:

@moi_bahrain: Assistant Undersecretary of Legal Affairs: calls in websites to hold gatherings at 3:30PM on Tuesday in various areas in Bahrain are illegal


@moi_bahrain: Public gatherings &freedom of expression are protected by the constitution & those who want to benefit from such right should follow the law

@moi_bahrain: Security and legal procedures would be taken against lawbreakers to protect security

At the end of the statement mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Bahrain News Agency stated:

The Kingdom of Bahrain is confidently and surely heading towards the brightest future in 2013.

Personally I hope that will be true.

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011/2012.

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