Grief, anger as Bahrain protester lies brain dead - PHOTO

Mohammed's family say he was shot by security forces while attending a memorial march.

Grief, anger as Bahrain protester lies brain dead - PHOTO

When she learned that the bullet in Ridha Mohammed's skull had left him brain dead, his nurse grabbed a glass-framed picture of Bahrain's prime minister and smashed it on the floor.

"Death to Khalifa. Death to Khalifa," she shouted, referring to the Gulf Arab state's long-serving premier.

Mohammed's family say he was shot by security forces while attending a memorial march for one of six people killed in unprecedented anti-government protests that have rattled the small kingdom's leaders over the past week.

He and thousands of other members of Bahrain's majority Shi'ite community have been demanding greater rights from the Sunni Muslim monarchy. Bahraini leaders deny the accusation that they discriminate against the Shi'ites.

Protests which started as demands for constitutional reforms have evolved into calls for the overthrow of the system, in part because of cases like Mohammed's.

Angry protesters outside the hospital had held up X-rays which appeared to show bullet fragments lodged in his skull.

The crown prince has said it is time for dialogue, not fighting, in Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia and the United States. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in the island kingdom.

But the crackdown that left Mohammed clinically dead has deepened mistrust and left many Shi'ites convinced that they will still be left out of decision-making and get unfair access to state jobs and housing unless there is radical change.

(Relatives and medical staff grieve after the family were told by doctors that Ridha Mohammed, shot in the head during protests on Friday, is brain dead at Salmaniya hospital in Manama.)

 

Relatives wept after a doctor informed them that nothing more could be done to save Mohammed, 32.

His brother Hassan collapsed and had to be carried away as he wailed "my brother my brother". "He never hurt anyone. We went to the protests together. And I will keep going," he said, twirling prayer beads as a relative comforted him later in a hallway.

"There is only one way to save Bahrain. The Khalifa family must go."

Much of the anger is directed at the prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa. Uncle of the king, he has been in office since independence from Britain in 1971.

Another of Mohammed's brothers read the holy book, the Koran, beside his hospital bed. One woman relative in a long black traditional robe repeated "God save him".

(Relatives grieve after being told by doctors that Ridha Mohammed, shot in the head during protests on Friday, is brain dead at Salmaniya hospital in Manama.)

 

But relatives who hugged each other realised it was too late. Doctors who operated to remove bullet fragments from his head said he would only live a few more days at most.

Mohammed lay with a red and white Bahraini flag covering him, with the phrase "I love my country" written on it.

His country seems more divided than ever.

"They want democracy in Bahrain," said his uncle Abu Ali, referring to Mohammed and three other protesters in nearby hospital beds who were also seriously wounded by security forces.

"This has convinced us more than ever that we have to keep fighting until we get what we want."

Reuters

Last Mod: 21 Şubat 2011, 12:24
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