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April 15, 2021

Second man dies in Bahraini unrest

Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis joined fifth day of protests.

A man participating in the funeral procession for a protester slain during recent unrest in Bahrain was killed Tuesday, the second fatality in the small Persian Gulf country swept up by the dramatic political upheaval across the Arab world, CNN informs. Authorities and activists say the victim was 31-year-old Fadhel Matrook – one of thousands of people attending the funeral procession of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, according to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Human rights groups say Matrook was shot by security forces using pellet guns. Activists have decried the use of those weapons at short range by Bahrain’s security forces. Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said on its website that an investigation has been ordered to find out the reason behind the incident. Mushaima, who died Monday, was shot protesting for human rights in the village of Daih, near Manama, Rajab said. Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa “offered condolences and deep sympathy to the family of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima on Monday,” according to a statement on the Interior Ministry’s website. The main opposition party, al Wifaq, has suspended its participation in parliament because of the security forces’ action. “We decided to suspend our membership until further notice, after the aggressive attacks by the police on civilians demonstrating and carrying the kingdom’s flag and calling for political and constitutional reforms,” said party leader Abdul Jalil Khalil. Rajab told CNN the security forces appear to have been taken by surprise by the size of the marches. Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni royal family, but two-thirds of the population are Shiite. In recent years, younger Shiites have staged violent protests to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption. The protest movement in Bahrain has been organized using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, in the same manner as the protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Bahrain is a pro-Western kingdom that is also the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Recently published diplomatic cables show that its ruler, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, has been deeply suspicious of Iran’s behavior in the region.


Thousands of Yemeni opposition activists have rallied in the capital, Sana’a, in a fifth day of protests on Tuesday, demanding political reforms and the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, VOANews.com informs. Yemeni police used batons to try to disperse about 3,000 protesters, mostly students, who marched from Sana’a University toward the city center. Some of the activists responded by throwing stones. Three protesters were injured.

The Yemeni protesters chanted anti-Saleh slogans similar to those used in uprisings that forced authoritarian leaders in Egypt and Tunisia to step down in recent weeks. A group of pro-Saleh demonstrtors also gathered in Sana’a to try to confront the anti-government protesters. The two sides have engaged in street battles in recent days. On Monday, at least 1,000 anti-government activists marched in the capital. Anti-Saleh protests have escalated since Friday, when crowds gathered to celebrate the ouster of Egypt’s president in an 18-day uprising fueled by similar grievances. Saleh has been in office since 1978. In a gesture to his critics, he announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2013.

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