Live Blog - Bahrain
From our headquarters in Doha, we keep you updated with reports from our staff across the country and further afield.
(All times are local in Bahrain, GMT+3)
March 7, 2011
7:11am Bahrain's crown prince warned all sides against escalating a standoff with disgruntled majority Shias seeking an elected government in the Gulf Arab kingdom, asking for patience ahead of a national dialogue.
"These rallies must not infringe upon the freedoms of other people. This is a basic principle. I urge all parties not to escalate matters or to slide into sensationalism. Some people do want this to happen, so we have to be fully committed and to speak out bravely against it," Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa said.
"I hope that everyone will be brave, patient and optimistic and motivated to engage actively in the dialogue," he told state television, according to a summary of the interview.
March 4, 2011
Protests in Bahrain countinue after a Bahraini Shia opposition leader called for Sunni-Shia harmony as thousands of protesters marched in Manama, a day after residents of a town south of the capital reported sectarian clashes.
"I will consider any attack against anyone in this country as an attack against me," Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the Islamic National Accord Association (INAA), the main Shia political formation, told thousands of demonstrators marching on the King Faisal Corniche in Manama.
Shia should guarantee the safety of every Sunni family, and Sunnis should do the same for the Shias, Salman said.
March 3, 2011
09:22pm Six opposition groups in Bahrain set conditions for dialogue with the country's monarchy, including: dissolving the government, cancelling the 2002 constitution and allowing continuation of sit-ins throughout the period of the dialogue
08:14pm Bahraini protesters change tack in their ongoing demonstrations against the ruling family with a mass car protest in the capital Manama.
Placards were in evidence with messages such as "no dialogue", a reference to the government offer to opposition groups to enter into a national dialogue.
There was also a change of tack from Bahraini opposition group leaders, who announced they were now ready to enter into talks with the government without pre-conditions. They said they had sent a letter to the crown prince saying, nonetheless, they wanted a new government and constitution.
4:57pm Leaders from Shia opposition groups in Bahrain seeking to loosen the Sunni monarchy's grip on power say they are ready to negotiate with the Gulf nation's rulers about political change after weeks of protests.
The two-week standoff, in which seven protesters were killed, has rattled one of the wealthiest corners of the Middle East, where it was long assumed that oil riches would stave off the kind of unrest that roiled in neighboring countries.
February 21, 2011
7:14pm Officials say the season-opening Formula One race in Bahrain has been called off because of the protests.
Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa says the country must "focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain's Formula One race to a later date."
The race was to be run on March 13.
1:20pm Exiled opposition figure Hassan Mashaima told AFP he would return to Manama, as protesters gear up for a rally they hope will bring tens of thousands to the central Pearl roundabout.
"I have decided to return to my country," said Mashaima, a Shia based in London who faces charges of terrorism in his native Bahrain.
In a telephone call from the British capital, Mashaima said he would land in Manama on Tuesday at around 1600 GMT and had "no guarantees" he would not be arrested on arrival.
"But under the current circumstances, I cannot remain outside my country," he added.
Mashaima is the leader of the opposition Haq movement, or the Movement of Liberties and Democracy.
5:29am Hundreds of protesters in Bahrain woke on Monday morning after another night spent camped out at the Pearl roundabout.
Dozens of tents have been erected for sleeping, but some people slept on the ground, covered in piles of blankets to protect against the chill night air. The mood is upbeat. Protester Hossain Kasar has spent the past two nights camped at the monument.
"I'm feeling happy" he said at sunrise on Monday morning, "but all the people of Bahrain, they don't want the government of Bahrain." he added.
5:11am The opposition wants Bahrain's rulers to guarantee they will back up their conciliatory words with actions, a Shia leader said as he and other activists weighed the regime's offer for talks after nearly a week of protests and deadly clashes.
The streets of Manama were calmer on Sunday as efforts shifted toward political haggling over demands the monarchy give up its near-absolute control over key policies and positions.
1:15am US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister have agreed to support a proposed dialogue between the Bahraini government and its opponents, the State Department says.
Clinton discussed the unrest in Bahrain in a telephone call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Twitter:"They agreed to support Bahrain's dialogue with all its citizens
7:31pm Protesters gather in a central Manama square clamouring for immediate political change as Bahrain's opposition parties meet to discuss demands they will present to Bahrain's rulers.
3:15pm The United States condemns any attempt by Bahraini security forces to crack down on peaceful protests, US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton says.
"We've been very clear from the beginning that we do not want to see any violence. We deplore it. We think it is absolutely unacceptable," Clinton told the ABC News program This Week, according to a transcript released by the network. She stopped short of calling for regime change.
12:17pm Al Jazeera's online producer in Bahrain says the atmosphere at Pearl Roundabout is similar to that of Egypt's Tahrir Square, a big sleepover camp.
February 20, 2011
11:50pm As we move into Monday morning, we'll be bringing the live blog to a close shortly. We'll be continuing our coverage tomorrow, but there's much more on the Bahrain protests at http://english.aljazeera.net. Thanks for staying with us.
11:17pm Formula One's season-opening grand prix in Bahrain could be in jeopardy as newly emboldened protesters in Manama call for the royal family to scrap what they see as a costly vanity project, though the race also is the Gulf island's premier international event.
9:28pm Al Jazeera's James Bays says the opposition are being discouraged from entering into talks with Bahrain's government:
"The protesters are determined to make this a permanent place of protest. A day after the army and police withdrew, the area around Pearl Roundabout has become a tented city, with free food, water and electricity.
"The protesters are pitching camp - and they say they won't leave until they get what they want.
"The government says it is opening a dialogue with the people. But one opposition politician - visiting the roundabout - was told very clearly that he should not enter into any negotiatiations.
"Any politician who talks to the royal family, he was told, has the blood of those who died on his hands."
7:30pm A sign on Pearl Roundabout that reflects the spirit on the ground: "No Sunni, No Shia, Only Bahraini"...
7:07pm Bahrain Mall was deserted today because of the nationwide strike :
6:48pm Al Jazeera's James Bays has the latest from the capital Manama:
6:36pm Robert Fisk of UK daily Independent spoke to Al Jazeera about the unrest in Bahrain:
6:22pm Protesters provide barbecued fish for dinner in Pearl Roundabout:
1:50pm The AP reports that women are playing a key role in anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain:
As night fell in Bahrain on Saturday, thousands of women took to the streets of the capital Manama to show their support for the popular anti-government protests.
Most women wore traditional black cloaks, with their heads covered. Others wore Bahraini flags around their shoulders as they converged on Pearl Roundabout, the focal-point for demonstrations.
'Today we are happy that we've achieved, that we can tell our demands and needs', said Zahra, who sat with a group of women holding candles.
'We need to change the government of Bahrain. I mean the minister, His Highness, he has to be removed,' she added, a strong comment in a nation which had, until recently, not dared to be overly vocal in criticism of the ruling Sunni royal family.
Another protester, Yasmina al-Said, wore a red shirt and carried a red tulip, symbolising Bahrain's flag.
She highlighted the wide cross-section of Bahrainis who took part in the protests: 'There's no difference between young people or old, or women or men.
'We're here together... and hopefully things will change.'
There are a few cool photos highlighting women's roles in Bahrain's protests via Twitpic - here's a great shot:
12:05pm The latest:
A landmark junction in the heart of Bahrain's capital, Manama, continues to be occupied by opposition protesters, hundreds of whom spent the night there after another day of anti-government demonstrations in the tiny Gulf state.
10:06am Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Manama, on today's national strikes in Bahrain:
We understand that some companies and some government facilities have been affected. Schools, in some areas of Bahrain, have been closed because of this national strike, which was called before the events of the return of the protesters to Pearl Roundabout after the withdrawal of the army and police. The national strike was called after that attack on protesters, when the army fired tear gas at them, rubber bullets at them and some live rounds, which struck protesters.
849am Twitpiced by AymanB: A shot of protesters, who remained in the Pearl Roundabout overnight:
8:06am After days of chaos and violence, a moment of peace, Tweeted just moments ago:
7:16 am Following another day of clashes, anti-government protesters reclaim the Pearl Roundabout.
Our correspondent on the scene reports that while the government's withdrawal of security forces was "aimed that starting negotiations", anti-government protesters remained angry. He observed:
Demands have hardened from the beginning of the week. Some say what they want is a change of government, some say that the prime minister should be sacked and others say that the king should go as well.
People are saying that given the people who have died and the number injured they will continue to come here ... many are saying they are not going to leave as they have not got the reform they were asking for.
All of them are asking for constitutional reform. The opposition are asking for a constitutional monarchy, like in the UK or Australia.
6:57am Tom Donilon, the White House national security advisor, has spoken with the Crown Prince of Bahrain.
According to a statement from the White House, Donilon spoke by telephone with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, reiterating President's Barack Obama's condemnation of violence used against protesters in Bahrain. Donilon also "expressed support for the steps that the Crown Prince has ordered taken to show restraint and initiate dialogue with all segments of Bahraini society. "
February 19, 2011
11:50pm Al Jazeera's online producer filed a feature on Bahrainis rejoicing after the army and police withdraw from the roundabout.
10:38pm An Al Jazeera producer filed this video from Salmaniya Hospital when word began to spread that police had pulled out of Pearl roundabout. It shows volunteers, doctors and nurses throwing a member of the staff into the air.
8:47pm Bahrain's main labour union called an indefinite strike from Sunday to protest at police violence and demand the right to demonstrate peacefully.
6:00pm On Bahrain TV Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa promised to usher in a new era of free dialogue.
"Brothers and sisters, now we will start a new phase: a phase during which we will discuss all of our concerns with
honesty. I want to deliver a message that calm is required at this time so all bodies and parties are able to raise
their opinions and concerns and issues in a responsible and productive manner."
5:30pm However Al Jazeera's correpondent in Manama said that many people don't want to negotiate anymore.
"Demands have hardened from the beginning of the week. Some say what they want is a change of government, some say that the prime minister should be sacked and others say that the king should go as well.
"People are saying that given the people who have died and the number injured they will continue to come here ... many are saying they are not going to leave as they have not got the reform they were asking for.
"All of them are asking for constitutional reform. The opposition are asking for a constitutional monarchy, like in the UK or Australia.
"There are others who'd like to see the monarchy go and a completely new system in Bahrain."
5:20pm Al Jazeera's online producer describes the scene after protesters returned to Pearl roundabout
5:00pm People in Pearl roundabout were seen kissing the ground, clapping, laughing and crying.
Some wore white sheets symbolising their readiness for martyrdom, while others carried Bahraini flags, flowers and signs and chanted "Peaceful".
"People want the removal of the regime," they chanted as they marched back into the square that has been the headquarters for their revolt against the Sunni monarchy in the predominantly Shia island nation.
4:00pm Bahraini riot police retreated from Pearl roundabout and thousands of anti-government
protesters streamed back into their former stronghold in Manama.
3:43pm Al Jazeera's online producer describes a scene of anger at Sulmaniya hospital in Manama.
3.30pm Al Jazeera's online producer talks to families of the critically injured.
3:10pm Even as the crown prince appeals for calm, our correspondent in Manama reports that anti-government protesters are gathering at three locations around the Pearl roundabout, planning to march towards it. Police are also present, setting up barriers using barbed wire.
3:07pm The crown prince has called for people to return to "normal life".
3:04pm Bahrain's crown prince is speaking on national television.
He says the country is on the verge of a "period of hope", and thanks all those who have responded to his call for dialogue.
2:57pm This photograph shows an army armoured vehicle leaving the Pearl roundabout. [Reuters]
2:54pm More details on the clash that took place after the military withdrew from Pearl roundabout. The police, who were positioned to take control of the square as soon as the military left, fired tear gas on jubilant protesters who had approached the square in their vehicles, honking their horns and waving flags. The police arrested several people at the square, with the Associated Press putting the number at 10.
2:51pm The country's main trade union has called a strike for Sunday, an a member of the Gulf Air trade union has told Reuters.
2:40pm Al Jazeera's online producer has filed this report from Manama, where hospital authorities are preparing for casualties following the clash at the Pearl roundabout.
2:28pm Our correspondent reports that while the military have pulled out of Pearl roundabout, they have repositioned themselves on surrounding streets.
A protest was scheduled for 4:00pm local time by doctors at Salmaniya Hospital, but people there now say that if there are casualties from the clash at Pearl roundabout, they will not hold that protest.
2:06pm Al Jazeera's correspondent confirms that only tear gas was used during the most recent clashes at Pearl roundabout, when protesters attempted to retake the square after the military pulled out.
2:01pm Al Jazeera's online producer in Manama reports that 60-70 protesters have made their way to Pearl roundabout, where they were fired upon by police using tear gas, and some reports say live ammunition.
There are no confirmed casualties as yet, though ambulances have been deployed from the Salmaniya Hospital.
1:47pm The Crown Prince has ordered all troops to leave the streets, and says that police will enforce order, according to the Bahrain News Agency.
1:38pm Police have used tear gas against protesters attempting to return to Pearl roundabout.
1:22pm A witness has told Reuters that the Bahraini army has "completed [its] withdrawal" from Manama's Pearl roundabout.
1:15pm Our correspondent also reported that there currently appear to be no indications that the government is prepared to soften its stance in any way in order to promote dialogue with the opposition. Protesters and the opposition have said that there can be no dialogue as long as the military remains deployed and the government does not allow protests.
1:09pm Our correspondent in Manama reports that there appear to be plans for marches to begin in three separate locations in about two hours time (at 3:00pm local time), with all of them destined for Pearl roundabout. Given the security presence there, he says it is unlikely that they will reach their destination. The real question is whether or not the military and police will use the same level of force (i.e. lethal) as they did on Friday.
Separately, a strike has also been called for Sunday, with protesters calling for Pearl roundabout to be "retaken".
1:00pm For those of you who want access to the full statement from Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, it's available here [pdf].
12:53pm A witness has told Reuters that "many" armoured vehicles are leaving Pearl roundabout in Manama, where police on Thursday broke up a large protest.
12:49pm The official website of the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, is down. A message on the website says the site is "closed due to maintenance", caused by large numbers of visitors.
11:37am Catherin Ashton, the EU's foreign affair's chief says that a process of political dialogue "should begin without delay".
"I am deeply concerned by new reports about the use of violence by the Bahraini security forces and strongly deplore the loss of lives. I reiterate my call on all parties to exercise restraint and calm in order to avoid further casualties and violence," Ashton said in a statement.
"I urge the Bahraini authorities to respect fundamental human rights including freedom of expression and the right to assemble freely. The dialogue announced by Bahraini crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to meet the demands and aspirations of the people should begin without delay," Ashton said.
11:06am The United States is facing a difficult balancing act on the issue of the violent crackdown on protesters in Bahrain, given that the US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based off the tiny island country. Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett in Washington DC filed this report.
10:57am Saeed al Shihabi, on Al Jazeera's Inside Story, says the issue of whether Bahrain has friendly relations with the US or with Iran is a matter that is up to the Bahraini people to decide, and that it cannot simply be predicted by people's religious or sectarian affiliations.
"I don't think the Bahraini people are so stupid to give up their interests and sell themselves to anybody," he said.
Meanwhile, Nabeel Raja, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights slammed the international reaction to the violence against protesters, saying Bahrainis are victims of belonging to a rich country. He called on the US to treat Bahrainis as it would treat Iranians.
10:17am For the record, Faisal Yaqoob al-Hamar, Bahrain's health minister says six people were wounded during the violence last night. Doctors at Salmaniya Hospital have put the number at at least 66, while opposition Wefaq lawmakers say 95 people were hurt.
10:09am Al Jazeera's correspondent in Manama says the opposition is demanding that the system of government in Bahrain be changed to a constitutional monarchy, such as is in place in England or Australia.
Regarding possible protests today, he said that demonstrators fear violence on the part of security forces, but their anger is so great that they are generally undeterred. Thousands of people remain gathered at the Salmaniya Hospital, and some of them say they will march again today.
Opposition politicians, meanwhile, say that whether or not there is a march today is "not in their hands", according to our correspondent. They say the people are now controlling themselves, and that protests are "spontaneous".
9:57am Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, has just tweeted that Type O Negative blood is "urgently needed" for those wounded in protests.
9:44am More video of the army firing on protesters on Friday is emerging all the time. These two clips show the same group of protesters marching towards a line of army tanks at about 4:45pm local time. In one clip, you can hear the protesters chanting "Salmiya, salmiya", which translates as "Peaceful, peaceful". Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the authenticity of these videos. [Warning: This video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.]
9:37am More from Wefaq:
"To consider dialogue, the government must resign and the army should withdraw from the streets" of Manama, Abdul Jalil Khalil Ibrahim, the head of the opposition bloc, told the AFP news agency. "What we're seeing now is not the language of dialogue but the language of force."
Ibrahim has put the number of people wounded in Friday's crackdown at 95, with three of them "clinically dead".
9:16am The main opposition bloc, Wefaq, has rejected the King's call for dialogue, saying that the government must quit before any talks take place.
"We don't feel there is a serious will for dialogue because the military is in the streets," Ibrahim Mattar, a member of the
Wefaq bloc which quit parliament on Thursday, told the Reuters news agency.
9:10am Al Jazeera's correspondent in Manama says that it is unclear whether there will be any organised protest marches today, and that protesters and opposition political leaders are still weighing their options.
He said that security concerns are foremost amongst the issues being considered, with political leaders he spoke to saying they were "concerned about putting [their] people in harm's way". It is still possible for "spontaneous protests" to take place, however, as they did on Friday.
Speaking off the record, opposition politicians have told Al Jazeera that they would be prepared to talk with the Bahraini royal family, but that it would be difficult "to take the people with them".
9:03am The video below was uploaded on February 17, and shows doctors and nurses at Salmaniya Hospital in Manama protesting against the use of violence against protesters. Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the authenticity of these images.
8:58am Financial TImes correspondent Simeon Kerr was marching with protesters in Manama when they were fired upon on Friday. He filed this video report for the London-based newspaper.
8.46am The Australian government has advised citizens travelling to Bahrain to reconsider their travel plans. Speaking to reporters in Sydney, Kevin Rudd, the country's foreign minister, said: "We have seen clear reports of fatalities among protesters and a large number of injuries as well. The travel advisory for Bahrain now reads that Australians should reconsider their need to travel due to the unpredictable security situation."
Rudd has also called on the Bahraini government to respect its people's right to demonstrate peacefully.
7:40am Salmaniya Hospital was flooded with casualties from Friday's violence near Pearl Roundabout. Our correspondent in Manama has more in this report. [This video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.]
2:03am At Salmaniya Hospital, a Bahraini army officer who sided with the anti-government protesters is pictured kissing a female demonstrator's hand.
February 18, 2011
11:51pm Bahrain forces fire on protesters - an MSNBC photo gallery
11:33pm A representative from the Bahraini teachers' union has declared Sunday a national protest day, calling for all teachers to stay at home and for parents not to send their kids to school.
11:09pm A photo gallery from our web team in Bahrain: The funeral for 22-year-old engineering student Ali Ahmed Al-Muamin. Our online producer in Manama has also filed this report on the funeral.
10:55pm More footage of the shooting by the Bahraini army - watch this video to the end! Protester: "They had machine guns, not riffles or hand weapons, machine guns and they shot people who ran away."
10:31pm Hospital sources tell CNN that three people are killed and a fourth person has serious head injuries after the shooting by the security forces.
10:15pm Reuters: Bahrain king asks crown prince to start a national dialogue “with all parties” [official statement]
9:55pm Ali Ibrahim, deputy chief of medical staff at Salmaniya hospital, says 66 have been admitted suffering wounds from the raid at Pearl Roundabout in the capital. Four are in a critical condition. The injuries are worse than those seen on Thursday, he says.
9:50pm An injured man is treated at the Salmaniya Central hospital in Manama after security forces shot at protesters near Pearl Roundabout, wounding at least 23 people, a former Shia lawmaker said.
9:21pm An injured man in Manama after security forces shot at protesters near Pearl Roundabout, wounding at least 23 people:
8:39pm US President Barack Obama is "deeply concerned" by reports of violence from Bahrain, Libya and Yemen and urged those government to show restraint in dealing with protesters, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
8:31pm According to a Wafaq party statement, tomorrow's re-taking of Pearl Roundabout protest has been postponed until Tuesday at the request of victims’ families.
Midday protests had been called via SMS + BBM to leave from Bahrain Mall/Geant, Sanabis, Na'im, Al-Daih - and then march from those locales to Lulu, now renamed by the pro-reform protesters as "Martyrs' Roundabout".
8:25pm Security forces in countries including Libya and Bahrain have used illegal and excessive force in response to the legitimate demands of their people, the top UN human rights official charged. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, also condemned the killings of protesters in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. "The Middle East and North Africa region is boiling with anger," Pillay declared in a statement.
8:21pm From one of our online producers in Bahrain:
Hours before the shooting in Manama on Friday, Abdul Amir led the funeral procession toward a cemetery, chanting anti-government slogans and celebrating the life of the deceased, Ali Ahmed Al-Muamin.
8:17pm Al Jazeera's correspondent at Manama's Salmaniya hospital reports that wounded people are still arriving at the hospital.
8:05pm State TV airs a recorded interview with the crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain about the unrest in the country. The crown prince asked for everyone to stay at home and avoid demonstrations even if they are peaceful because it's not safe outside.
I express my condolences to all Bahrainis because of the painful days that we are living. I would like to address them with a message: a message of a citizen, a message for men to be calm. We need time to evaluate what happened and to regroup together again and to restore our humanity, culture and future.
7:55pm An Al Jazeera producer in Manama reports on the shooting:
Our sources say people were participating in a solidarity protest for the doctors and nurses who helped on February 17. They decided to walk to Pearl Roundabout, with the idea of giving police and army flowers, as a gesture of goodwill.
They didn't even make it, army opened fire about 500 metres away. Witnesses said they were aiming at head and chest. Salmaniya hospital is now calling for blood donations.
The Pearl Roundabout right now is full of riot police.
7:34pm Protesters run for shelter after Bahraini security forces opened fire at protesters marching towards the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. Bahraini security forces shot at protesters and wounded at least 23, a former Shia lawmaker said. [Photo Reuters]
7:24pm The latest footage of the shooting in Manama: The authenticity of these images could not be verified by Al Jazeera.
7:02pm A number of people have reportedly been killed in Bahrain as shots were fired at pro-reform protesters.
6:45pm Bahrain's crown prince promises to start a national dialogue once calm is restored, as witnesses say police has opened fire on demonstrators in Manama, wounding a number of them.
6:39pm Bahraini troops shot at protesters near Pearl Roundabout and wounded several, Jalal Firooz, a former Shia lawmaker says. Firooz, of the Wefaq bloc that resigned from parliament on Thursday, said demonstrators had been elsewhere in the city, marking the death of a protester killed earlier this week when riot police had fired tear gas at them.
The demonstrators then made for Pearl Roundabout, where army troops who took it over after the police raid on Thursday, opened fire, he said. Police had no immediate comment.
We need help! Our staff is entirely overwhelmed. They are shooting at people's heads. Not at the legs. People are having their brains blown out!
6:17pm Hadeel Al-Shalchi [@hadeelalsh] of Associated Press Tweets:
Protesters reached the #lulu square, sat down and army shot into them again #bahrain
6:13 pm People are tweeting that blood is needed at Salmaniya hospital:
Please if you can announce in AJE and AJA .. Blood needed in Al Salmanya Hospital. BTV won't announce it .. Please if you could.
6:09pm An Associated Press cameraman says he saw army units shooting anti-craft weapons above the protesters in apparent warning shots and attempts to drive them back from security cordons about 200 metres from the Pearl Roundabout.
These were not the birdshots that were used to disperse protesters on Thursday, but live bullets. We are hearing it was not the police who is shooting. It is the army.
5:55pm More shots being heard in the area of Pearl Roundabout. No immediate word on casualties.
Panicked crowds running thru hospital after police attack. Drs rushing to ER. Tear gas grenades outside, wafting in.
5:45pm Security forces have fired tear gas on thousands of pro-reform marchers in Manama after angry calls to topple the Gulf nation's monarchy. Some demonstrators are moving in the direction of Pearl Square, a day after riot police swept into the area to destroy an Egypt-style protest encampment.
5:35pm State TV is showing images of a pro-government rally. Hundreds have taken to the streets of in a show of support for the country's ruling monarchy.
5:26pm Barcelona's Catalunya Circuit is ready to serve as a substitute venue for Formula One's final test session of the season if Bahrain is unable to host due to anti-government unrest.
Circuit director Salvador Servia says the track would be available to hold the March 3-6 event after the Formula One Teams Association asked about a potential switch.
5:21pm Al jazeera's correspondent receives reports of another large protest that is being planned in about 24 hours’ time.
Political leaders are trying to gather people for that rally.
4:45pm YouTube user shaffeem uploaded this video that appears to show army troops opening fire on Bahrain protesters, some of them lying on the ground, perhaps dead, after being hit by live ammunition
3:16pm Al Jazeera online producer says that several thousand people attended the funeral of Mahmood Makki Abu Takki before Friday prayers in Sitra, and the crowd grew after the prayers with at least 25,000 attending the funeral of Ahmed Ali Muamin.
Reports of big gathering for third day of mourning for person buried on Wednesday to be held in the Al-Daih area. Down-town area of Manama still under lockdown.
3:00pm Emotions were high as thousands gathered to bury those killed in yesterday's pre-dawn raid.
2:37pm Interview with Mona Ali, a 25-year old Bahraini, at a funeral for protesters killed yesterday.
2:08pm Pro-government rallies being held in Bahrain's capital, despite ban on such gathering by police. Al Jazeera reporter says that strong police presence in other areas of city, with helicopters patrolling overhead.
12:27pm Friday prayers are over and strong police presence on some streets. Here is a picture that was uploaded on Twitter that shows tanks in the streets.
11:09am The funerals are taking place before the Friday prayers. Al Jazeera's reporter in Bahrain says that people taking part in the funeral processions fear for their lives.
10:56am A picture from the funeral in Manama's Sitra neighbourhood.
10:07am Thousands now gathering at grave yard for the funeral ahead of Friday prayers.
9:58am Funeral for some of those killed yesterday is now underway. People are very sad, but also very angry.
8:35am No sign of security forces in area where funerals are to be held. Hundreds have gathered and the funeral procession is preparing to start.
8:23am The funerals of four people killed in Thursday's pre-dawn raid in Manama are expected to be held today and could well serve as a rallying point for protesters.
5:14am The UK's Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday that the British government has launched a review of arms exports to Bahrain, after reports that Bahrain security forces used UK-supplied weapons in the attacks on pro-reform demonstrators in the capital.
The Guardian reported:
Despite long-running concerns among activists over Bahrain's human rights record, British firms were last year granted licences, unopposed, to export an arsenal of sometimes deadly crowd control weapons.
Read the whole article here
2.50am Britain said on Thursday that it was reviewing decisions to export arms to Bahrain after anti-government demonstrators were killed in clashes with security forces.
"In light of events we are today formally reviewing recent licencing decisions for exports to Bahrain," said Alistair Burt, a junior foreign minister with responsibility for the Middle East.
He warned that Britain would "urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the criteria" used for the export of weapons.
1:53am An Al Jazeera Online producer in Bahrain sent in the following images from Manama:
Click here to view the gallery in full-screen.
1.00am There was a marked difference in the happenings in and around Pearl roundabout on day one and day three of the protests.
These two videos, posted on YouTube, s:show a calm and jubillant atmosphere on February 15, but a nastier picture on February 17, when police attacked demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullet
February 15 - Video posted by johnsmithbahrain
February 17 -Video posted bythetruthisnowchannel
12:45am New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof, based in Manama, wrote:
As a reporter, you sometimes become numbed to sadness. But it is just plain heartbreaking to be in modern, moderate Bahrain today and watch as a critical American ally uses tanks, troops, guns and clubs to crush a peaceful democracy movement and then lie about it.
This kind of brutal repression is normally confined to remote and backward nations, but this is Bahrain! An international banking center. An important American naval base, home of the Fifth Fleet. A wealthy and well-educated nation with a large middle class and cosmopolitan values.
Read the full piece on the New York Times website.
February 17, 2011
11:55pm Here is the latest report from our correspondent in Bahrain. Please note that the footage contains images that could upset sensitive viewers:
10:50pm Tents on Pearl Roundabout in Manama were cleared of protesters by riot police this morning:
9:38pm Britain is to formally review its recent licensing decisions for arms exports to Bahrain after all the violence, a Foreign Office minister said. The licences have included tear gas cartridges and equipment that can be used for riot control. Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt said in a statement:
In light of events we are today formally reviewing recent licensing decisions for exports to Bahrain. We will urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the (consolidated EU and UK export licensing) criteria.
9:02 pm US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says the US is urging restraint ahead of possible further unrest in Bahrain on Friday.
8:15pm Bahrain's foreign minister Khalid al Khalifa on state TV denies that Bahraini armed forces used live fire the disperse pro-reform demonstrators. At a news conference he called the deaths of three protestors during the police raid a "regrettable accident". Police action was necessary to pull Bahrain back from the "brink of a sectarian abyss", he said.
8:05pm Reuters: US defence secretary Robert Gates spoke with Bahrain's crown prince Salman, the Pentagon says.
8:01pm In an interview with the BBC, Saudi Arabia's prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz says there is a danger the protests in Bahrain could spill into Saudi Arabia if there will not be serious reforms in the kingdom. Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz - a known liberal - is the father of billionaire price Al Waleed Bin Talal.
7:49pm The latest photo taken by one of our web producers at the Salmaniya hospital where pro-reform demonstrators were gathering and chanting:
7:35pm Bahrain state TV shows pictures of weapons allegedly belonging to pro-reform demonstrators.
6:10pm UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the leaders of Bahrain not to use violence against civilians and journalists. The reports from Bahrain overnight are deeply troubling, he told reporters, adding that he was disturbed by the violent methods being used to disperse demonstrators:
The Arab regimes need to properly respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people. If they make promises, they need to keep them. The Arab people in the streets have been feeling largely neglected.
5:55pm The Bahraini opposition has called for the government to resign following the deadly police raid on anti-regime protesters in Manama, the head of a Shiite opposition bloc says. Al-Wefaq leader Ali Salman:
The opposition groups, including Al-Wefaq, have issued a statement demanding the government resign and calling for the formation of a new government to investigate this crime.
5:40pm Al Jazeera's White House correspondent in Washington DC says that senior US administration officials will be placing calls to their counterparts in Bahrain today urging restraint. The White House will not say if the President will be picking up the phone. We expect a read out after the calls are made.
5:31pm The latest audio update from one of our web producers at the Salmaniya hospital where pro-reform demonstrators were gathering and chanting "With our spirit and our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you martyr" and "Hussein, Hussein", a Shia specific chant in reference to Imam Hussein:
5:22pm A medical source tells our correspondent that the death toll is likely to rise and that the military might have taken away bodies in a refrigerated truck.
5:02pm Al Jazeera's correspondent says that three more bodies are being kept in the morgue of Salmaniya hospital. There are also reports of another victim - a young girl. Two more patients are fighting for their lives in the hospital. There are also a lot of missing people. A medical source told our correspondent that the army may have taken away bodies in a refrigerated truck.
4:51pm Another video posted on YouTube showing the attack.
Bahrain defence forces will take all necessary measures to secure safety, order and stability.
4:07pm Al Jazeera's correspondent says that the death toll of the clashes has risen to at least four.
4:06pm Al Jazeera's correspondent in Bahrain reports that the hospitals are full of injured people after last night’s police raid on the protesters. Some of them are severely injured with gunshots. Patients include doctors and emergency personnel who were overrun by the police while trying to attend to the wounded.
4:02pm Reuters: Bahrain to hold emergency meeting of Gulf Arab foreign ministers in Manama on Thursday.
3:45pm The F1 Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for three weeks time is in serious doubt. The track warm-up event for this weekend (Gp2 Asia series race) has just been canceled due to protests. The circuit had no medical workers available after they were all called to work at hospitals.
1:31pm Anonymous is an online Hackers news organisation, and they issued the statment below:
Click here to see the rest of the statment.
1:26pm Al Jazeera online producer said that booms could be heard from different parts of the city, suggesting that "tear-gas is being used to disperse the protesters in several neighbourhoods".
8:25am Reuters news agency has reported that more than 50 armoured vehicles heading towards Bahrain pearl square in Central Manama.
7:32am At least two pro-reform protesters were killed and dozens were injured as hundreds of Bahraini riot police, armed with tear gas, rubber bullets and clubs stormed the main square in the capital as protesters slept.
A video was posted on YouTube by alibh1 showing the attack. Al Jazeera can't verify the authencity of the video.
7:21am The Bahraini Ministry of Interior issued this statement on breaking up pearl roundabout sit-in.
Protesters are chanting: is this reforming? Attacking at 3 am?
seeing pictures of those killed. i'm crying. i'm crying. blood & tears shed. #Feb14 #Bahrain god save us
No one expected, the next revolution would break out in Bahrain. Now, see what's brewing there! Amazing.
4.53am Sources confirm to Al Jazeera that two people have died in the attack on pro-reform demonstrators on Thursday morning. Scores more are injured and are being rushed to a hospital in the capital. A source at the hospital tells Al Jazeera that around 40 injured people have just arrived there.
4.49am An Al Jazeera journalist in Manama reports:
Riot police have set up positions along roads leading into Lulu, and they don't appear to be letting any cars travel towards the square. As security forces break up the protesters currently in the center of the action, police are trying to ensure that the demonstrators' ranks will not swell any further. Helicopters continue flying overhead, and the crackdown could continue for hours.
4.25am Sources tell Al Jazeera that at least one person was killed in the attack on protesters by Bahraini police. A member of the political opposition confirmed that women and children were among those attacked.
410am Maryama Alkawaka of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was at Pearl roundabout when police attempted to break up the protest. She said police began shooting at sleeping protesters from the bridge above the roundabout.
It was very violent, [the police] were not showing any mercy.
This photo by AFP shows demonstrators sleeping at Pearl roundabout before the attack on Thursday.
4.03am Al Jazeera's correspondent in the capital Manama said there was a lot of tear gas being fired at the protesters. "I am several miles away but i can feel the tear gas," he said, adding:
The police came very quickly in huge numbers... they have been using tear gas, been using rubber bullets... and been using jeeps to round-up people.
Abdul Elah, a pro-reform demonstrator who was injured in the attack spoke to Al Jazeera by telephone, saying:
We were sitting there.. peacefully sitting in the square, most of us sleeping.. suddenly the police came surrounding us from everywhere, thousands, shooting us with tear gas, and rubber guns
4.00am A citizen journalist in Manama submitted this footage of police rushing towards Pearl roundabout:
3.30am Police in Manama have used teargas to disperse protesters camped out in the capital, witnesses told the Reuters news agency. "Police are coming, they are shooting teargas at us," one demonstrator said.
Our journalist in Manama said:
I see lots of police cars visible from my hotel window. I can hear choppers flying around, and also hear constant booms, which may be the sound of tear-gas canisters being shot..."
3.20am Our jounalist on-the-ground in Manama tried to access the Live video feed of Pearl roundabout, but the site is blocked in Bahrain. This is the message that gets displayed instead: