International

Symbol Of Uprising Is Destroyed In Bahrain

A combination of pictures show the statue in the centre of Pearl Square being torn down in Manama.

A combination of pictures show the statue in the centre of Pearl Square being torn down in Manama. Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters /Landov

The modern and imposing landmark that had become the symbol of the opposition in Bahrain was demolished today by the government.

Video of back hoes working to bring down the concrete beams that held up a white ball was aired on state television. In the end, the structure, which stood 300-feet tall in the middle of the Pearl roundabout in Manama, "lay like a pile of bones," on the ground, reports CNN.

Bahrain's news agency reports the structure was destroyed in order to "optimize services and improve the infrastructure."

On Monday, Bahrain called on the help of the armed forces of other Gulf states, but especially Saudi Arabia, to help tamp down protests. Wednesday, Bahrain's armed forces moved into the Pearl roundabout to remove all the protesters.

Today, reports the AP: "Thousands of Bahrainis gathered for the funeral of Ahmed Farhan, a 29-year-old demonstrator slain Tuesday in the town of Sitra hours after the king declared martial law in response to a month of escalating protests."

At the center of the conflict is that Bahrain is a Shiite majority country ruled by a Sunni king. This week's crackdown has caused tension in the region. Iran, ruled by Shiite clerics, issued terse statements, saying Saudi Arabia's intervention was unacceptable. Today, reports Reuters, thousands of Iraqi Shiites took to the streets in solidarity with Bahrain's Shiites:

The Iraqis waved Bahraini and Iraqi flags and chanted "Yes, yes to Bahrain. No, no to the Saud family." "These protests are the beginning of support for the Bahraini people and if the Saudi and Bahraini rulers won't respond, we will act, even if we are forced to go and be human shields," said Muhanad al-Gharrawi, a Sadr aide in Sadr City.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a similar — and officially sanctioned — protest erupted in Iran's capital city:

Protesters in Tehran shouted "Death to Al Khalifa in Bahrain" and "Death to America," referring to the close alliance between the Khalifa ruling family and the United States.

"We are all Muslims," protester Ali Asadpour, 58, told Babylon & Beyond. "We should be united against the arrogant power, the U.S., and we want an Islamic system in Bahrain."

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