Valentines Day marks the anniversary of the uprising in Bahrain, when people marched on the Lulu Roundabout in Manama and set up a camp to demand democracy. The camp was brutally cleared and the roundabout demolished. Despite the murder of dozens, and the torture and imprisonment of many more, the protests continue. Today people plan to march to the site of Lulu again.
With the Bahraini Kingdom limiting entry for journalists, and possibly restricting news going into the country, in the build up to the anniversary, a number of international activists entered Bahrain to show solidarity with the protesters, record human rights abuses and in the hope that their presence would curb some of the excessive force being used by the king’s men. They also aim to highlight the hypocrisy of Western foreign policy:
As Medea B. who is a volunteer with Witness Bahrain noted:
My favorite sign was one contrasting the U.S. views toward Syria and Bahrain. On one side was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton above gruesome, Syrian bodies, chastising Assad. On the other side was Obama and Clinton above gruesome, Bahraini bodies, remaining silent. The Bahrainis want to know why the U.S. has such double standards. Not only is the U.S. government going ahead with multimillion dollar arms sales to Bahrain, but the tear gas that was about to envelop us came from the good ‘ol USA.
On Friday, the volunteers who had entered Bahrain announced their intentions. The following day, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, who are also active in the International Solidarity Movement and Free Gaza Movement, were arrested and deported. In the linked video they talk about the situation in Bahrain and their deportation. To get involved, visit the Witness Bahrain website.