The situation in Bahrain is now critical, with live fire raining (literally: the army is shooting from helicopters on citizens and journalists) on protesters, resulting in dozens killed, even as Libya (9th largest crude reserves in the world) is rumored to be in a comparable situation. The countdown on Saudi Arabia is now on. Watch the latest development at Al Jazeera which is now broadcasting live from Manama.
And from the New York Times:
Government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square Friday, sending people running away in panic amid the boom of concussion grenades.
A Western official quoted a witness saying that the shooters were from the military, not the police, and that protesters began dropping to the ground after the firing started.
It was not immediately clear if the army was using live ammunition or rubber bullets to fire at the crowd, mostly young men who had been part of a funeral procession for protesters killed earlier in a crackdown by police on their peaceful revolt against the government.
Minutes later, forces in a helicopter fired on a reporter and videographer who were shooting a video on the latest violence.
That earlier crackdown killed at least five people and, once again, left the Obama administration in the uncomfortable position of dealing with a strategic Arab ally locked in a showdown with its people.
On Thursday, the masses of once-peaceful protesters were transformed into a mob of angry mourners chanting slogans like “death to Khalifa,” the king, while the opposition withdrew from the Parliament and demanded that the government step down. At the main hospital following the violence, thousands gathered screaming, crying and collapsing in grief.
On Friday, the funerals created a potential new flashpoint as mourners chanted antigovernment slogans. In the village of Sitra, south of Manama, a crowd of thousands accompanied the coffins of Ali Mansour Ahmed Khudair, 53, and Mahmoud Makki Abutaki, 22, both killed by shotgun fire on Thursday.