Protesters trying to reach Pearl Square. Photo sent in by one of our Observers in Bahrain, Anmar.
Using rubber bullets and tear gas, security forces rebuffed protesters who tried to reach Manama’s iconic Pearl Square
Friday afternoon. Several hundred protesters had branched off from an earlier massive protest, during which security forces had not intervened. Our Observer, who was among the protesters, tells us why Pearl Square is so important to the opposition.
The day had begun calmly. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters peacefully marched through the streets of Bahrain’s capital Manama early Friday afternoon, condemning its rulers for crushing repeated protests over the past year.
The Shiite-led opposition has repeatedly called for constitutional changes that would limit the power of the ruling Sunni royalty, which currently appoints all major posts in the country’s government.
March organisers decided not to lead participants to Pearl Square – which was heavily guarded by police – but instead to a site they call Freedom Square, just outside the city.
However, after the demonstrators left Freedom Square, hundreds of them disregarded the organisers’ wishes and headed toward Pearl Square. On the way there, they were intercepted by security forces, who used force to disperse them.
Protesters being tear-gassed by security forces near Pearl Square. Photo sent by our Observer, Anmar.