• Mike
    14 February 2008

    I think they should just let the rioters riot, I mean peaceful demonstrators demonstrate, riot, and burn, pillage, and loot, then force them to breath the smoke from the fires they have set….
    Come on folks, what would YOU suggest using against a gang of a hundred or so wild eyed idiots intent on “social change” thru mob rule?

  • mahmood
    14 February 2008

    Looking at most of the riots so far, it seems that they start as demonstrations – unauthorised ones according to the police, who proceed to disperse them. The demonstrators feel aggrieved by the inordinate use of force/chemicals/taunts/etc and they turn violent.

    If they were left unmolested to voice their grievances – as is constitutionally guaranteed – that demonstration will just die a natural death, peacefully.

    But, again from my observations, the police look at people gathering for a demonstration as a challenge to the state and feel somehow compelled “to protect the honour of the state” and think that use of force in whatever measure is thus acceptable.

    And the rest is history.

    From the Ministry of Interior’s objections (and see how wishy-washy that position is when challenged as you can read in the referred to article) it seems that their method of resolving issues like this is “shoot first and don’t even bother to ask questions later”.

    Do I condone the rioters? Of course not. Violence just begets even more violence.

  • Lee Ann
    14 February 2008

    Just round up all the rioters and make then do clean up duty at the parks and beaches…that should keep them busy and quiet for awhile. 😉

  • Anonny
    15 February 2008

    Do the rioters have legitimate, effective ways in which they can express their grievances?

  • Sam
    15 February 2008

    I used to live in a village that has had it’s fair share of civil unrest for many years and I have to say Mahmood’s observations are pretty accurate.

    Do those airing an opinion on a road side bearing flags and posters really need the invervention of riot police, armoured 4x4s, tear gas and rubber bullets?

    I would love to see the use of CS & teargas banned completely! Google tells me that teargas is banned in over 70 countries and a load of scientific studies have shown the detrimental and sometimes fatal effects it can have on people.

    In all my years here, I have never seen riot police use megaphones or try to establish ANY form of communication with protesters.

  • Anonny
    15 February 2008

    I was asking because I have seen peaceful demonstrations here. I’ve heard stories of police turning them into something else, but I’ve never seen it with my own eyes. I have seen those Dana Mall photos of youth acting like total scum, kicking policemen when they are down and such like, so it’s not as if any fingers can be pointed solely at the police.

  • Capt. Arab
    16 February 2008

    Another perspective is that every night in the Sanabis area (around Bahrain Mall & Dana Mall) the same riots happens, and the same scenario just repeats itself…
    Tires get burnt, trash bins scattered, etc.. The irony of the whole situation is that it has become more of a habit (something to do), and guess who is paying the price?? The people and residents of the area, they are barricaded in, and feel insecure and only God knows what will happen next.
    I, just like everybody else am starting doubt is this really an expression of opinion or just trouble brewing on a low fire..
    Frustration leads to anger, and thus when somebody innocent does get hurt we all know what will happen..
    Everybody gets upset !!!!

  • nowhere man
    16 February 2008

    While I agree with much of the commentary thus far, it seems to me that there are important structural facts which are being ignored here.

    For one, I agree with the above that the riots are likely an expression of frustration – but frustration at what? The real problem is the nature of the Bahraini state – by and large a dictatorship (monarchy?), which does not allow the population to express its political will in any effective institutional manner. When the frustrations of a wide array of individuals, for a plethora of reasons, build to a boil, there is no effective mode of expressing them except through resistance, and often violence and destruction. Democratic institutions – to some degree – are essential to the peace and security of the population.

    The question then becomes: what constitutes democracy? Pulling a lever next to the name of the candidate you least dislike, who then takes his seat in Parliament, powerless to represent those who voted him or her into that position? No. Any sensible definition of democracy would have to mean that people’s opinions have an effect in forming policy over a broad range of issues, from foreign policy to the management of the economy. This, of course, is a real threat to many people in positions of power and privilege, and they will go to great lengths to prevent it from emerging. Hence the tear gas, the armed 4x4s, etc.

Valentines’ gone horribly wrong