INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Demonstration at U.S. Embassy Bahrain

Published: Sat 27 Mar 2004 12:23 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MANAMA 000414
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR DS/IP/NEA, M, S/CT, CA/OCS, INR, DS/ITA, NEA/EX,
NEA/ARP, AND A/OPR/ALS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ALOW ASEC BA CASC PTER
SUBJECT: DEMONSTRATION AT U.S. EMBASSY BAHRAIN
1. SUMMARY: On 26 March 2004, approximately 400 to 500
individuals staged a demonstration outside of the US Embassy
Manama, Bahrain, purportedly to protest the killing of Sheikh
Yassin by the Israeli Government. The demonstrators held a
short peaceful demonstration in the immediate vicinity of the
Embassy and quickly moved to a field approximately 300 yards
from the Embassy. In what appeared to be a coordinated
effort, demonstrators began throwing rocks and small pieces
of concrete at police. The police responded immediately with
repeated volleys of teargas and the crowd dispersed.
Although police and demonstrators continued to engage in
small skirmishes in the village of Zinj, the police remained
in control of the area and by early evening calm had returned
to the streets. Police reported numerous arrests and one
injury to a demonstrator. US Embassy Manama did not sustain
any damage and there were no injuries to personnel. END
SUMMARY
2. On 26 March 2004, at 1630 approximately 150 demonstrators
assembled on the south side of the Embassy complex and took
up position on the Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Highway. The police
immediately re-routed traffic off of Sheikh Isa Bin Salman
Highway and stationed riot police in the immediate area.
This initial group of 150 individuals appeared to be mainly
students and appeared unorganized and more intent of taking
photographs of each other than actually demonstrating.
Within minutes, this group was joined by a larger group of
300 plus adults who appeared to be much better organized and
more intent on making themselves heard. Upon arrival of the
second group, the total crowd of 400 to 500 individuals began
chanting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans. RSO staff
noted that during this time period, numerous Palestinian and
Hizbollah flags could be seen. Although the crowd was vocal,
they remained relatively peaceful and made no attempts to
attack either the Embassy or riot police stationed in the
area.
3. At 1700, the crowd departed the immediate area of the
Embassy in mass and re-assembled in a field 300 yards to the
west of the Embassy compound. After fifteen minutes of
continued flag waving and chanting, members of the crowd, in
what appeared to be a determined effort to provoke police,
began throwing rocks and pieces of concrete. The police
responded immediately with numerous volleys of teargas and
began pursuing the protesters as they dispersed. Over the
next hour the police continued to skirmish with small groups
of protesters as the protesters set fire to trash dumpsters
and tires in the village of Zinj. RSO staff counted
approximately 200 canisters of teargas fired into the area.
Shortly after 1800, calm appeared to have returned to the
village of Zinj, police reported an end to the confrontation
and reopened Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Highway.
4. Police reported eight arrests and only one injury to a
demonstrator. No injuries to police were reported.
FORD
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