Protesters are risking their lives when they demonstrate for democracy in Bahrain. The government quickly made this clear with a lethal night raid on February 17, three days after this year’s protests began. The police attacked hundreds of sleeping protesters in Pearl Roundabout at 3 a.m. with rubber bullets and tear gas, forcing them to evacuate in a mass panic.
At least four protesters were killed and hundreds were wounded, overwhelming Salmaniya hospital. Doctors pleaded to the international community for help.
Further crackdowns in March wounded hundreds more. The military used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Pearl Roundabout again on March 16 and then suppressed demonstrations in villages, such as on Sitra island.
*They were all shot from close range,* said Nabeel Hameed, a neurosurgeon at the capital’s biggest hospital [Salmaniya]. He looked at an X-ray of the latest patient, shot in the chest, and added: *Yes, they do shoot to kill.*
A 24-year-old protester, Ahmed Farhan, was shot in the head and killed, said Dr. Ibrahim Youssef, a member of the medical team at the Sitra Health Center. Youssef said hundreds of others were injured by shotgun blasts and clubs.
– Bahrain king declares martial law over protests, Associated Press, March 15
The West no longer receives images of wounded protesters in the hospital because the Bahraini military targeted the hospital system in mid-March. The media blackout from Bahrain is based on an orchestrated military campaign.
The doctors featured in this page’s videos, Dr. Ghassan Dhaif and Dr. Ali El-Ekri, were abducted in late March. Human rights activists will need to monitor their treatment and engage in letter writing campaigns on their behalf.