Feb. 14 Uprisingís 6th Anniversary: General School Strike, Closed Shops, and Mass Protests in Manama

2017-02-16 - 10:23 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Marking the sixth anniversary of Bahrain's February 14 uprising, thousands took to the streets across the country on Tuesday (February 14, 2017). The majority of the peaceful protests were met with the crackdown of security forces who were widely deployed since the early hours of the morning.

Shops closed their doors in all predominantly pro-opposition areas and villages, answering calls for a general strike by the revolutionary forces, most prominently the February 14 Coalition, which has been leading daily demonstrations over the past 6 years.

Schools also participated in the general strike, despite all the Education Ministry's warnings to punish the educational institutions that walk off the job.

The Bahraini capital Manama witnessed the launch of the major protests, as a mass demonstration was staged in the old popular market that was on strike as well.

Marching through the streets, pro-democracy demonstrators chanted anti-regime slogans, "Hamad, you are to blame," and "down, down Hamad," holding the Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa accountable for the deterioration of the situation in Bahrain.

Security forces cordoned off the Al-Qalaa roundabout in Manama after protestors staged a sit-in at the crossroad leading to the Interior Ministry. Government forces were also heavily deployed across the capital.

Despite the bad weather and heavy rain, marches were staged across the island kingdom. A protest was held in the Karbabad area, while other demonstrations took place in Sitra, Saar, Damestan, Al-Ekr, Southern Sehla, Shaherkan, Sanabes, Nuwaidrat, Nabih Saleh, Sadad, Tubli, Al-Daih, Aali, Jidhafs, Malikia, Diraz, Buri, Bani Jamra, Maameer, Karzakan, Bilad Al-Qadeem, Abu Saiba' as well as many other areas. Reports say that police forces fired shotgun pellets (birdshot) and tear gas canisters in their clampdown on protestors.

Clashes broke out between police and demonstrators, who set a number of tires ablaze and blocked some roads. For their part, security forces blocked many main streets and set checkpoints using armored vehicles amid heavy circling of helicopters overhead.

The most violent clashes erupted in the island of Sitra between security forces and demonstrators after the protest reached the main police station in the area.

Activists say that two people were run over by security vehicles in the areas of Al-Daih and Sanabes as the police chased protestors and made arrests. Two shotgun injuries were reported among protestors.

A number of residents complained of damages caused to their vehicles as a result of the security forces' firing of shotgun pellets to disperse demonstrators.

At least 5 people were arrested in the areas of Al-Daih, Abi Saiba' and Karzakan, including a photographer. Two of them; however, were later released.

The Interior Ministry shunned making any comments on Tuesday's events, which is a day the authorities celebrate since it marks the issuing of the National Action Charter in 2002, pursuant to which Bahrain became an absolute monarchy. State television also aired "patriotic" songs in an effort to overshadow the mass protests staged against the ruling Al Khalifa family's monopoly over power.

The Al-Wefaq Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Hussein Al-Daihi delivered a televised speech in which he stressed on the need for serious political negotiations sponsored by the UN.

The opposition revolutionary forces issued a statement calling for a popular march towards the martyrs square (the Pearl Roundabout) on Friday (February 17, 2017).

The opposition in Bahrain demands putting an end to the ruling Al Khalifa family's monopoly over power, which backed by GCC states constantly cracks down on the opposition. Over 185 Bahrainis have been killed since the eruption of the popular uprising on February 14, 2011, and around 4,000 dissidents have been locked behind bars, including the leaders of the opposition.

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