Chan'ad offers a vivid play-by-play of the protest vigil this evening in Bahrain, called to demand the release of three bloggers arrested last week by security forces. In a post titled "Intimidation Nation," Chan'ad recounts how a row of 200 peaceful protestors along Hall of Exhibition Avenue were stared down by a phalanx of riot police. Tensions evidently heated up, with protestors staging a sit-down in front of the officers, but all remained peaceful and organizers eventually ended the rally early at 8:30 to avoid an escalation.
Chan'ad notes that four people were inexplicably arrested before the protest even began, and that police had blocked off part of the Avenue to prevent pedestrian on-lookers. Here's some play-by-play from Chan'ad:
The presiding officer demanded that the protest be called off but the organizers refused. So the goon patrol, all dressed up with helmets, shields and batons were dispatched to intimidate the crowd. There must have been 100 goons (with more waiting further back), and about 200 protesters at the time. The goons marched towards the protesters until they were face to face, with barely a metre between the two rows. The demonstrators were a bit intimidated at first, but then the organizers told everyone to sitdown quietly on the pavement, and they repeated over and over (and over, and over) again the importance of remaining peaceful. Because tensions were high, and on a couple of occasions a youth would lunge towards the goons only to be pulled back just in time by the fellow protesters.
Protestors announced that they will return to protest every week until the three bloggers are released. Other protests are planned for the upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain. Don't miss Chan'ad's full-post for more vivid photos and commentary.
Only a few years ago, these protests would have passed in silence. Today, we can follow them nearly in real-time, thanks to bloggers like Chan'ad.