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Uprising: Bahrainis hold funeral of rally victims

bahrainThousands of furious Bahrainis have participated in mass funerals for anti-government protesters killed by security forces on Thursday.
The funeral of two men martyred by police began in the Shia village of Sitra, east of Manama, on Friday, Shiite News reported. The burial ceremonies of two others are to take place after the noon prayers.
The mourners chanted anti-government slogans and called for national unity against the government.
On Thursday, at least four protesters were killed, 67 have gone missing and about 230 others were reported injured after Bahraini security forces stormed a protest camp in Pearl Square in downtown Manama and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators.
Medical sources believe that most of those missing are dead.
Bahraini protesters have renamed the square as Tahrir Square, after the square in Egypt that became the focal point of pro-democracy protests, leading to Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
Later in the day, eighteen members of the Bahrain parliament resigned from their posts in a show of rage against the violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
However, after that, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa praised the military for its nighttime crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
The king paid a visit to the Defense Force General Command on Thursday and discussed the raid as well as his government’s ongoing strategy with Commander-in-Chief Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and top-ranking defense officials.
He later addressed troops and praised them for their “bravery and readiness to assume their national duties.”
The Bahraini army has warned protesters not to take to the streets. It has threatened to do whatever it takes to maintain security.
The government is trying to quell the protests, which have been inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
The magnitude of the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain is unprecedented in the history of the kingdom and the authorities’ efforts to quell them have so far been ineffective.
The demonstrators are demanding a new constitution that would move the country toward democracy and limit the king’s powers.
Bahrain is ruled by a royal family that has been blamed for discrimination against the country’s majority Shia population — accounting for 70 percent of the total population.
Protesters have called on the Bahraini king to fire his uncle, Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has been the country’s prime minister since 1971.
Meanwhile, foreign ministers from the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council held an emergency meeting in Manama on Thursday night to discuss the latest developments in Bahrain.
The US Department of Defense has refused to condemn the Bahraini government’s crackdown on protesters, saying Washington is monitoring the developments in Bahrain.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the kingdom of Bahrain.
‘US backs crackdown in Bahrain’
The Bahraini regime cannot violently suppress its own people without the US support, a political expert says amid the escalation of pro-democracy protests in the Persian Gulf Arab state.
“Bahrain is a country where the United States has an enormous military presence, so without a doubt the Bahraini regime cannot kill and slaughter its own people without knowing that they’ll be supported and backed by Americans,” said Dr. Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University, in an interview with Press TV on Thursday.
“The United States does not want change in any part of the Middle East; they’ve basically tied their foreign policy to Israel and all of these corrupt and despotic regimes…they’ve remained in power for decades due to the support of the United States,” he added.
The Iranian scholar made the remarks in the wake of the violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in Bahrain early on Thursday when security forces raided the protesters in Pearl Square in central Manama and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the people to disperse them.
Four people were killed in the incident, raising the number of the deaths to seven since Monday.
The US Department of Defense says Washington is closely monitoring the developments in Bahrain, which is the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and holds some 4,200 US service members.
Inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahraini protesters have staged anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf kingdom, demanding a new constitution that would move the country toward democracy as well as limited state control for the monarchy over top government posts and all critical decisions.
Meanwhile, Marandi made an analogy between the uprising in Bahrain and that of Egypt and Tunisia in terms of the number of people who have been killed.
“What is very interesting to me at least is that Bahrain is a country of 700,000, and the number of people killed [about 10 people] if you compare it to the population is really enormous,” said Marandi, adding that it means “many of the people in that country are directly affected by the murders carried out by the regime.”
He further turned the spotlight on the problems that United States is encountering in the region as it scrambles to save those regimes backed by Washington.
“This is the whole problem that the United States face; the dilemma is that they want to save each and every one of these regimes, including the Egyptian regime…Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, but all of these regimes are becoming more and more unstable , and the United States is becoming weaker, because of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic crisis that it faces at home …so I think the time is not on the side of Americans …and I think in the coming months we would see a very different Middle East,” he concluded.

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