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'Bahrainis living in fear and paranoia'
Sat, 30 Apr 2011 08:34:46 GMT
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Documentary Maker, David Lawley
A Saudi-backed crackdown on anti-government protesters rages on in Bahrain, as security forces attack demonstrators in the eastern city of Sitra.

Reports coming out of Bahrain say regime forces have clashed with protesters in the city, with the soldiers allegedly firing (birdshot) at the crowds.

Earlier, Saudi-backed forces used poison gas on anti-regime demonstrators and one demonstrator is reported to be in serious condition.

Also, on Wednesday, regime forces raided a medical center in Sitra and reportedly arrested some doctors. Meanwhile, a military court has sentenced several detained protesters to death.

In an interview with Press TV, London-based documentary filmmaker David Lawley discusses the issue:

Press TV: Please tell us about other different reports that we have gotten and of course, what you have witnessed in terms of what is going on in Bahrain.

David Lawley: Well, the big uprising that you saw earlier ... from February and on through March, those large uprisings will no longer be ... because the people are living in total fear and paranoia of being systematically beaten or having their children beaten in schools; doctors have just been disappearing and just medical staff (have been ) disappearing from hospitals.

And each little village is surrounded by police cars and occasionally, two tanks and at least five or six police cars around each little village. So therefore, in the evenings when there are peaceful protests, all the people in the village go up on the roofs and chant 'God is great' and then the police storm into the villages with these police cars and then the tanks roll through and they disperse the crowd with tear gas and shooting birdshot from guns.

The medical teams out there, there are 'Doctors without Frontiers', they are treating children as young as twelve for beatings, and we have seen numerous cases of birdshot in peoples' arms and eyes some people have lost their sight.

So what, in fact, is actually going on over there is, in fact, a form of genocide, and one thing that the people keep saying to me the whole time I'm there is why isn't the United Nations doing anything in Bahrain? Why the silence, why what seems to be double standards of looking into Libya, and now sanctions apparently about to happen on Syria, what is happening? Why are they not touching Bahrain -- the UN -- when genocide is actually taking place on the streets?

Press TV: When you mention the UN, you also have to take into account, for example, an arm of the United Nations -- an organization by the name of ILO, which was reported about the sackings that have taken place... Of course, then details come about that actually (being) the Bahraini forces -- you can tell us more, perhaps. (They) round up people at the workplace and they try to separate the Shias from the Sunnis, and of course, then target the Shias. Is that true and what other incidents do you have that report the Shias (are) being targeted?

David Lawley: Whether those incidents of rounding up Shias and from their offices is true or not, I have no evidence of that; but what I have heard -- and now (have) figures to show this -- is now, over a thousand Shias, with top jobs, have, all of a sudden since the revolution, been fired and lost those positions.

We know it's a fact now that over 35 doctors, who have been apparently guilty of the crime of treating people with wounds -- they have been taken away and imprisoned for treating people with wounds.

Now that is completely against the Geneva convention in any warfare or any protest situation; so to be breaking the Geneva convention -- and as I was saying earlier, to (be) basically committing suicide, I think it's once again an amazing situation that the UN isn't looking further into these things.

But for the things I witnessed myself, it's more a case of the villages and the protesters. I have seen one, and I was in the middle of one protest where I saw an average age about 16 to 18 year old girls being chased down a street by policemen with tear gas explosion bullets, and guns with this birdshot, which can be lethal and can absolutely kill people... I've seen that myself, so it is absolutely criminal what's going on over there.

Press TV: Have you had contact with the opposition? And tell us the statements they have said about the anger reaching a boiling point.

I spoke to the MP, Adel al-Mauda, just yesterday and he was telling me that in no way these protests were legal; they had no right to make a protest in the first place and therefore the government has every right to go after the leaders and bring them to trial (such as) we've seen today with the death penalty (being given to) four people, who have supposedly killed these people in car accidents. So the government is saying they have absolutely every right to go after these protesters because the protesters, in the first place, didn't have the authority to hold the protests and they should have gone to the government and applied for permission.

But he wouldn't make any excuses for the doctors. He said that the stories of doctors disappearing from the hospitals was nothing but a pack of lies, but he did say, on the other story that is particularly upsetting to the Shia community over there, who again have come up to me many times with women with tears in their eyes about the question of mosques being destroyed, there are now over 30 mosques, which have been destroyed.

Adel said that the reason that these mosques were destroyed was, once again, that the permission had never been granted by the Khalifa family for the mosques to be built in the first place and in fact, it wasn't just Shia mosques that had been destroyed. He did say that there were one or two Sunni mosques, as well.

So that was another thing that Adel had said from the government's side. He also said that the Saudi troops that we have seen on the streets -- that we have seen in Bahrain -- are really just confined to protecting the country's oil wealth and also for protecting the electricity supply, and also for protecting the water supply. They are not there in any way whatsoever to harm the people of Bahrain or to use any force whatsoever against the protesters.

So one can only assume that it's the Bahraini police and army that are doing all the systematic terrorization of the people.

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