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Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue

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Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue - by Stephen Lendman

Whatever set them off, the genie is out of the bottle and spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and perhaps America, in Wisconsin over proposed wage, benefits, and union bargaining rights cuts. A forthcoming article covers outrage in the US heartland, inspiring others Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and perhaps wherever aggrieved workers reside, awaken, and react against intolerable outrageous policies.

On February 17, New York Times writers Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi headlined, "Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital," saying:

Its military, "backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, took control of most of this capital (Manama) on Thursday, hours after hundreds of heavily armed riot police officers fired shotguns, tear gas and concussion grenades to break up a pro-democracy camp inspired by the tumult swirling across the Middle East."

Hundreds were injured. At least six died, some killed while they slept with scores of shotgun pellets to the head and chest, according to witnesses and attending doctors. Others were attacked when they ran to avoid violence. Foreign minister, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-l-Khalifa, defended street violence as a last resort to save Bahrain from the "brink of a sectarian abyss."

Al Jazeera's unnamed correspondent for his safety said "clashes were no longer limited to one place....They are now spread out in different parts of the city." Hospitals are filled with wounded people. "Some of them are severely injured with gunshots. Patients include doctors and emergency personnel who were overrun by the police while trying to attend to the wounded." Some are in critical condition.

Angry crowns are chanting, "Down with Al-Khalifa," referring to Bahrain's ruling family. "People are also chanting that the blood of the victims will not be in vain." The kingdom's main opposition bloc, Wefaq, denounced government violence as "real terrorism," women and children attacked like men.

Bahrain's king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed condolences on state television for "the deaths of two of our dear sons," saying a committee would investigate the killings, adding:

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