At least six people were killed Wednesday in Manama, Bahrain’s capital city, as soldiers launched a “full-scale assault” on anti-government protesters. At daybreak, soldiers and riot police used tear gas and armored vehicles to drive demonstrators out of Pearl Square. For the past month, Bahrain’s Shiite majority have been leading an uprising against the Sunni royal family’s monopoly on power. It’s not yet clear whether soldiers from Sunni-majority nations, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were involved in today’s offensive. But Bahrain’s clash is increasingly being viewed as a proxy battle between Gulf Arab leaders and Iran, a Shiite stronghold. During the assault, clouds of tear gas filled the street and protesters’ tents were set afire. At the height of the attack, mobile phones were jammed and Internet service was severely slowed down.
“They fired tear gas and then opened fire,” Hamid Zuher, a 32-year-old protester who slept at the square, told the AP. “We lifted our arms and started saying ‘Peaceful, Peaceful.’ Then we had to ran away. There was so much tear gas and shooting.”
In footage below of the altercation between a trio of police and a protester, it also seems as though the protester was urging security forces to stop firing. It’s unclear whether the guns they use to shoot the protester are tear gas guns or regular guns, or whether police fire right next to his head or straight on. Regardless, the footage is incredibly disturbing. Here’s Bahrain’s Tiananmen Square tank moment.
Bahrain Forces Attack Protesters in Capital, 6 Killed [AP via AOL News]
Related: Bahrain Might Be the Next Place We Have to Worry About