2-14-2012By Brian Dooley
Director, Human Rights Defenders Program
When the Arab Spring hit Bahrain last year on February 14, 2011, the repressive monarchy met pro-democracy protestors with a brutal crackdown. One year later, democracy protestors are still being attacked and prosecuted for calling for an elected government.
Bahraini protestors participating in today’s anniversary events have faced tear gas and many have been arrested.
The Bahrain government continues to:
- Use tear gas, bird guns, and threats of detention against pro-democracy protestors, violently preventing them from peacefully protesting;
- Attack, harass, and detain human rights defenders calling for democratic reforms; and
- Prevent wounded protestors from seeking medical treatment by surrounding hospitals and clinics with security forces and arresting suspected protestors.
More recently, the monarchy denied me and other international monitors entry to the country—raising concerns at what might happen this week. They’ve also denied journalists from some major international newspapers.
The United States has been inconsistent in supporting the fight for democracy in the Middle East, falling short in condemning human rights abuses in Bahrain. The Obama Administration is also moving to supply Bahrain with military equipment. As of today, the Bahraini people are still under attack. The United States must take a stand with them.