Call the State Department to protest the deportation of international observers from Bahrain, the brutal crackdown against Bahrainis and U.S. military aid to Bahrain's repressive regime.
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February 14, 2012
Dear Friend of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,
Earlier today we saw a message from Medea Benjamin which said "happy valentines day from bahrain. Our group of international observers are getting ready for Feb14 protests. Police blocking roads.Tear gas flying." Medea was pictured holding a made-in-the-USA tear gas canister used against Bahraini protesters. And just now we received an email from Voices for Creative Nonviolence with an urgent request to call the State Department about the Bahraini government's deportation of U.S. peace observers. The email is reproduced below.
Please do call the state department at 202-647-4000 and leave a comment stating your opposition to 1) the deportation of international observers from Bahrain, and also 2) the brutal crackdown against Bahrainis and 3) U.S. military aid to Bahrain's repressive regime.
HERE IS THE EMAIL FROM VOICES FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE
—— Please call 202-647-4000 and leave a comment with the U.S. State Department asking them to halt the Bahraini government's deportation of U.S. citizens who are in Bahrain and have observed government brutality against peaceful protesters. Six U.S. citizens are now in detention including three from Voices for Creative Nonviolence. You can also tweet the State Departent at @StateDept. Please help spread the word. ——
February 14, 2012
Six US citizens arrested in Bahrain, to be deported
Contact Witness Bahrain to schedule an interview.
For Immediate Release
[Manama, Bahrain] Six US Citizens were arrested by Bahraini security forces in Manama on Tuesday during a peaceful protest on the way to the Pearl Roundabout. Protesters had marched into the city center to reestablish a presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest on the one year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.
The international observers were in Bahrain as part of Witness Bahrain, an effort aimed at providing civilian presence to report and monitor the situation on the ground (witnessbahrain.org). Leading up to February 14, the one year anniversary of pro-democracy protests, Bahraini authorities had prevented journalists, human rights observers and other internationals from entering the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown.
Just yesterday, Secretary of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated that the US wanted to see the security forces exercise restraint and operate within the rule of law and international judicial standards. But she failed to condemn the violent arrests of US international observers, the detainment of numerous Bahraini pro-democracy activists (including President of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab) and the ongoing use of overwhelming amounts of tear gas.
The six US citizens were part of a peaceful protest marching towards the Pearl Roundabout —— site of last year's peaceful round-the-clock protest in Bahrain, modeled after Egypt's Tahrir Square when they were attacked. Bahraini authorities appear to have targeted the Witness Bahrain observers, as one volunteer was told that she was detained for reporting on the February 11th Manama protest.
The six observers remain in Bahraini custory in the Naem Police Station in Manama. This group of internationals is the second to be deported by the Bahraini government. Attorneys Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were deported on Saturday, February 11th. The two were handcuffed for the duration of their flight from Bahrain to London.
Several international observers remain on the ground.
Biographies of the six arrested international observers:
Kate Rafael works at a San Francisco law firm and is a radio journalist, blogger and political activist from Oakland, California.
Flo Razowsky is photographer and community organizer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a Jewish anti-Zionist activist with Witness Bahrain and several Palestine solidarity organizations.
Linda Sartor teaches graduate school, and is a community activists based out of Northern California. She has been a human rights activist in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan and Bahrain.
Paki Wieland is a retired social worker/family therapist educator in the Department of Applied Psychology, Antioch University, Keene, New Hampshire. Since the 1960s, she's also been a dedicated anti-war and civil rights activist.
Mike Lopercio is a restaurant owner from Arizona and has visited Iraq with a Military Families delegation.
Brian Terrell lives and works at Strangers and Guests Farm in Maloy, Iowa. He is a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
—— END OF VOICES FOR CREATIVE NONVIOLENCE EMAIL MESSAGE ——
NOTE: To see the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's past work on the Bahrain issue, go to our website to see our May 2011 sign-on statement "End U.S. Support for Bahrain's Repressive Government," which was published inThe Nation and online by The New York Review of Books, and publicized widely inside Bahrain. Also see our October 2011 Bahrain Update. We regularly post anti-war messages updates on democratic struggles for social justice in Bahrain and around the world on our Facebook page. Sign up to follow us on Facebook now!