Brutality in Bahrain

by Matthew Shaffer

The situation in Bahrain is highly uncertain right now, due to brutality scaring journalists from the scene. But there is some truly horrible news coming from Bahrain right now, including that the army has opened fire on crowds of mourners at a funeral for protesters killed in previous days, including that gunmen in a helicopter may have fired on the crowd. If the military is willing to confront protesters in Bahrain, the country could have a very different future than Egypt’s: 

MANAMA, Bahrain — Government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square Friday, sending people running away in panic amid the boom of concussion grenades. But even as the people fled, at least one helicopter was spraying fire on them and a witness reported seeing mourners crumpling to the ground. But even as the people fled, at least one helicopter was spraying fire on them and a witness reported seeing mourners crumpling to the ground.

 

A Western official quoted the witness saying that the shooters were from the military, not the police, which might indicate a hardening of the government’s stance against those trying to stage a popular revolt.

It was not immediately clear if all the forces were using live ammunition or rubber bullets to fire at the crowd, mostly young men who had been part of a funeral procession for protesters killed in an earlier crackdown by police.

 

Minutes later, forces in a helicopter that had been shooting at the crowds, stopped to fire at a Western reporter and videographer who were shooting footage on the latest violence.

At least seven people had died in clampdowns before Friday’s violence and a Western official said at least one had died Friday. There were reports of at least 50 injured.

The chaos has left the Obama administration in the uncomfortable position of dealing with a strategic Arab ally locked in a showdown with its people.