Bahrain Protests
Photo: Al Jazeera English/

Protests in Bahrain today took a tragic turn when security forces opened fire on protesters. Political protests have begun erupting all over the Middle East, with people of several countries demanding reforms and greater amounts of democratic input. Bahrain’s security forces have dealt with five days of protests with increasing amounts of violence.

Protesters flood streets of Bahrain demanding reforms

The Middle East is beginning to become increasingly volatile, as protesters in numerous nations have begun demanding democratic reforms. On Feb. 14, just days after the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, protesters began taking to the streets of Manama, according to The Telegraph, and have been protesting for several days. Bahraini security forces have dealt with protesters harshly, using force to dispel protesters, and have opened fire on several occasions. Protests on Friday, Feb. 18, were met with tear gas and firing of live rounds, which has led to at least two deaths after protesters had been fired upon the previous day, which resulted in five deaths. Bahraini protesters have been engaging in peaceful protests and have not been openly carrying weapons or firing on police.

Bahrainis demanding civil liberties and democracy

Protesters in Bahrain are demanding greater civil rights for the Shi’ite majority in the Middle East nation. King Hamad bin-Isa al-Khalifa and the royal family of Bahrain are Sunni, and Shi’ites are not legally treated as fully equal to Sunnis, according to the New York Times. They also are demanding a transition from a constitutional monarchy to a constitutional democracy. Protesters had been warned to stay out of Pearl Square, in the heart of Manama, but Bahrainis were emboldened after funerals of people slain by police during Thursdays protests, proclaiming it as a “Day of Rage.”

Protests spread after Tunisia and Egypt turmoil

After long entrenched rulers left office in Tunisia and Egypt following uprisings demanding they leave, protests began in Yemen, Libya and Bahrain. Libyans have taken to the streets, calling for the ouster of the long time ruler of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi. Libyan forces have responded harshly, as 24 protesters from several cities in Libya have been killed by Libyan security forces over the past few days, according to USA Today.


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