Posted by: nativeiowan | February 20, 2011

Wow, this is intense…

There has been nothing like this since the youth movements of the 60s. And this is nothing like the youth movements of the 60s…





Updates from the Arab SpringFrom the Bahrain Youth for Freedom Facebook page.

Over the past few weeks, small-scale protests and plans for demonstrations have taken place across the Middle East/North Africa region. The resignation of Hosni Mubarak last week has further inspired opposition groups to take to the streets and push for government reforms. Whileit’s being reported that Tunisian and Egyptian activists worked alongside one another, sharing strategies and advice ahead of and during their respective protests, the extent to which activists are collaborating across other borders remains to be fully realized. Are Tunisians and Egyptians now directly advising organizers in neighboring countries and participating behind the scenes? Regardless, it’s clear that organizers are attempting to replicate the Tunisian and Egyptian models of nonviolent and peaceful action. Here’s the latest updates from Iran, Bahrain, Morocco, Yemen, and Algeria.

February 14

– Last week, the Facebook page 25 Bahman was set up calling for Iranians to march in solidarity with the people of Tunisia and Egypt on Monday, February 14. The word “Bahman” (the 11th month of the Persian calendar) has been blocked from Google search results. The hashtag #25Bahman is being used to share news.

– Also last week, opposition groups were denied a permit for the protests.

– Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist who was an admin for the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page, spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and offered words of encouragement to Iranian demonstrators: “I would tell Iranians to learn from the Egyptians, as we have learned from you guys, that at the end of the day with the power of people, we can do  whatever we want to do.  If we unite our goals, if we believe, then all our dreams can come true.”

– Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were both placed under house arrest. On Sunday, the two leaders called for citizens to proceed with plans despite government threats to crack down on anyone protesting. Lists of cities with locations and times of protests were being shared ahead of February 14.

– By mid-day Monday, thousands took to the streets in Tehran. Police and plain-clothed authorities were also there to challenge marchers. According to reports, tear gas and batons have been used against demonstrators. Iranians also reported that mobile phone and texting services were down along the protest routes.

– A Facebook page has been created asking Al Jazeera to cover events in Iran as the news station did with Egypt.

– A BBC gallery has photos from today’s demonstrations. Crowd voice has a page as well. And while the credibility of some videos being posted to YouTube is being questioned, France 24 andGlobal Voices have both collected videos from today.

– U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for the Iranian protesters, stating that they “deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and are part of their own birthright.” She did not mention protests happening elsewhere in the region.



February 16

– Following Monday’s protests, where at least two were killed, at least 1,500 demonstrators were arrested and members of the Iraninan parliament have called for Mousavi and Karroubi to be executed. There’s also word that the relatives of demonstrators are being attacked by police.

– On Wednesday, hundreds of students took to the streets to march in the funeral procession for Tehran Art University student Saane Zhaleh, who was killed during the protests on Monday. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is calling for a pro-government rally on Friday in Tehr

February 17

– Mousavi’s website has issued a new call for protests on Sunday, February 20, in memory of the two slain protesters.


February 18

– In an interview with Radio Free Europe, a hacker who works with Anonymous describes how the group is helping the Iranian opposition evade government censorship. He notes that Tor is blocked by Iran, but the group is working to provide Iranians with other anonymity tools.

February 14

– February 14 was being promoted as a “Day of Rage,” with opposition youth movements calling on citizens to protest against government oppression and corruption. Multiple groups have set up Facebook pages, including the Bahrain Youth for Freedom. The hashtag #Feb14 is being used on Twitter.

– Riot police were reported to have broken up multiple protests using tear gas and rubber bullets.Maryam Alkhawaja, head of the foreign relations office at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights,Tweeted that one person has been killed due to a direct shot in the back.

– Meanwhile, on Sunday, government regulators made promises to ease media controls and reform press laws.

– Crowdvoice and Global Voices both have pages up with videos from today’s protests.

– This video shows riot police suppressing a peaceful protest:


February 16

– People continue to protest for the third straight day. Protesters have taken over the Pearl Roundabout–a traffic circle in the capital of Manana also known as Lulu–and it’s been reported that security forces have held back. Reminiscent of Tahrir Square, people are setting up tents, amedia center, and food stalls.

– On Tuesday, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa made a statement on TV, saying, “We will ask the legislative authority to look at this phenomena and to suggest the necessary legislation which will solve this in a way that will benefit the homeland and its citizens.”

– The Wall Street Journal reports that the protesters’ demands vary: “The protesters represent a broad spectrum of opposition opinion. Some openly call for the downfall of the ruling Al-Khalifa family, while others want political reform with the country’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, remaining as monarch.”

– Yesterday, reports came in that Bambuser, the app that lets users share live mobile video broadcasts, was blocked for certain users. For some earlier broadcasts, check out the pages of users alaali and mvoice.

– Multiple Twitter users inside Bahrain are reporting that the internet is very slow (12).

– Opposition groups announced that they have formed a committee to coordinate protesters’ activities. Members include Shiite and Sunni politicians. The committee is now planning a massive demonstration for Saturday.

– Demonstrators packed into the Pearl Roundabout for the night. Photo from @ba7ari of the crowd listening to speeches:

– The situation at the Pearl Roundabout turned deadly just past 3am in Bahrain. As the Tweets below describe, the police charged the roundabout, using tear gas, sound grenades, and perhaps rubber bullets. Numerous deaths are being reported.


#Bahrain: 345 am protests peaceful until now but in last 15 mins, large number of police moving in, tear gas heavy in air less than a minute ago via webNic Robertson


#Bahrain: police change tactics after day of peaceful demo.. now helmeted police flooding area, protesters have been pushed backless than a minute ago via webNic Robertson


That was ruthlessly efficient charge by the police. They waited for numbers to be down n protesters to be asleep n then charged in darkness less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhoneEmile Hokayem


In less than an hour, police dismantled all the demonstrators’ tents etc and cleared the roads. Helicopters hovering above.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhoneEmile Hokayem


Three confirmed deaths as result of attack on lulu square 1 youth, 1 elderly, 1 at scene #Bahrain #feb14less than a minute ago via ÜberTwitterMazen Mahdi

February 17


– Reports confirm that at least 5 people were killed and hundreds injured in last night’s raid on the Pearl Roundabout.

– Graphic images of bodies riddled with bullets are being circulated on the web, as are videos of the attack.

– Egyptians are taking part in a solidarity demonstration in front of the Embassy of Bahrain in Cairo.

– What makes these protests different from those in Tunisia and Egypt? Read Peter Beaumont of the Guardian’s analysis.

– The number of Facebook users inside Bahrain has shot up by nearly 10,000 in the past week.

– Bahrain is already known for pervasive filtering. Ethan Zuckerman now tweets: “Arbor network sees 20% drop in traffic, evidence of increased filtering in #Bahrain.”

Feburary 18

– Protesters took to the streets for the fifth consecutive day, with many taking part in four funerals of those killed earlier this week.

– Protesters marching towards the Lulu Roundabout were met by security forces who began firing.

Hadeel Al-Shalchi, a correspondent for the Associated Press Middle East Bureau in Manama, Bahrain, tweets:


Gunshots fired into #bahrain protesters, injured have fallen as they try to enter pearl squareless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®Hadeel Al-Shalchi


Army firing live ammo from anti-aircraft guns from APC’s at protesters #bahrainless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®Hadeel Al-Shalchi

Meanwhile, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reported of attacks at a hospital.


Police attacking protesters here at hospital in #Bahrain. Tear gas inside. Panic.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®Nicholas Kristof

February 19

– Pro-democracy demonstrators have reclaimed the Pearl Roundabout from the army and police.Check out Nicholas Kristof’s report on the scene there.

February 14

– A call has gone out for peaceful demonstrations on February 20, with demands including the dissolution of parliament and constitutional reform. An associated Facebook page has cropped up and the movement is referring to itself as “Freedom and Democracy Now.”

February 17

– In the following video, Moroccans describe why they are joining Sunday’s protests.


February 18

Reports are coming in that individual Facebook accounts are being phished. Learn how to enable HTTPS for Facebook here.

February 14

– Small-scale demonstrations that first began on February 3 have increased in scale over the past few weeks. Demonstrations on Friday, February 11, dubbed “Friday of Rage,” were quickly quashed by police. Citizens re-grouped, and thousands of Yeminis took to the streets on Saturday, Feburary 12, calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

– A Human Rights Watch news release stated that police forces were using tasers and batons on peaceful demonstrators.

– A New York Times article indicates that much of the protest organizing is being done via text messaging. On Sunday, a text message was being circulated around asking youth to “participate in the student and youth revolution in a demonstration to demand the removal of the leader and to celebrate the Egyptian revolution, tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the front of the main gate of Sanaa University.” Internet penetration in Yemen is less than 2%, so it’s unlikely demonstrators are using the web much to share information.

– Citizens continued to protest on Monday, Feburary 14, clashing with pro-government demonstrators.

– Check out Crowdvoice’s page dedicted to the Yemini popular uprising.

February 16

– The Washington Post and Time both have profiles of Tawakkol Karman, a young female activist at the center of protests in Yemen.

– Students at Sanaa University continue to demonstrate for the sixth straight day, clashing with pro-government demonstrators. Thousands of police officers have poured into the streets.

– A call is being issued on Facebook for people to participate in a “One Million People” rally on Friday.

– Mideast Youth reports that Yemen Portal launched a special section today (in Arabic only) called Revolt Window to follow activity on various Facebook pages being used to organized demonstrations. It’s noted that “the aim out of this move is to enhance coordination between different Facebook group managers and members so they could arrange plans and activities together and know interests of different members.”


February 18

– A number of videos show clashes between pro- and anti-Saleh protesters.

– Tens of thousands protested in the city of Taiz, where at least two people were killed in a grenade attack.

February 14

– Thousands of Algerians took part in a pro-democracy rally in Algiers on Saturday, February 12. Police far outnumbered protesters and over 400 people were arrested. Check out a collection of photos with detailed captions here.

– On Monday, February 14, authorities said that a 20-year state of emergency would be lifted in “the coming days.”

February 19

– Although protests have been banned in Algeria, around 2,000 Algerians took to the streets in Algiers on Saturday. It was broken up by riot police before protesters could reach the May 1 Square.

February 17

– Algeria’s prime minister now says that the state of emergency will be lifted by the end of the month. Meanwhile, students across the country have gone on strike and there are plans for another protests this Saturday.

Feburary 16


– Ahead of Thursday’s planned protests against Muammar al-Gaddafi, a group of demonstratorsgathered in the port city of Benghazi on February 15 to support human rights activist and lawyer Fathi Terbil, an advocate for families of prisoners killed at Abu Salim Prison in 1996, who had recently been detained.

– According to reports, at least a few hundred Libyans participated in the demonstration. Police arrested many and confronted protesters who were throwing rocks with water cannons and tear gas.

– A Google map of protests has been set up.


– Some Twitter users to follow with updates:






– EnoughGaddafi is also uploading videos from demonstrations to YouTube.

February 17

– Ahead of today’s planned demonstrations, Tweets from users like Egyptian human rights activist @RamyRaoof and Alive in Egypt’s @BaghdadBrian shared tips and advice on staying anonymous online and bypassing censorship.

– The website has been hacked.

– Text messages were sent to Libyans apparently threatening them with live ammunition if they demonstrated. Note: Mobile penetration in Libya is over 100%.

– Some more background on the February 17 Day of Rage Facebook page: It was first set up on January 28 (three days after protests began in Egypt) by a Swiss-based Libyan dissident named Hassa Al Djahmi. Over 20,000 users have “liked” the page.

– A number of videos from today’s demonstrations are being posted on the aforementioned Facebook page.

– Internet penetration in Libya hovers around 12%. The number of Facebook users inside Libyahas grown tremendously in the past two weeks.

– The Los Angeles Times reports that a text message is being sent to Libyans calling for them to take to the streets in protest. It reads “From Libya’s youth to anyone who dares to cross any of the four red lines come and face us in any street on the ground of our beloved country, referring to a speech by Saif el-Islam Gadhafi, son of Gaddafi, in which he described the “four lines” as Islamic law, the Quran, Libyan security, and his father.

– Since is down, a new website it up in its place: Libya February 17. Check it out for updates, video and photos.

– The latest reports coming out of Libya indicate that at least 19 people, perhaps more, have been killed in today’s demonstrations.


February 18

– In a statement released yesterday, Human Rights Watch said that at least 24 protesters have been killed by Libyan security forces.

– The team behind Alive in Egypt, which has been translating Speak2Tweet messages into English, has launched Feb 17 Voices.

Feburary 19

– The internet in Libya was disconnected Friday night, but connections were later restored by morning. Meanwhile, the use of Tor by Libyans is up–both direct use and via bridges.

– You can see some videos from Libya on the Libyan Youth Movement’s YouTube channel.

– The New York Times notes that “a deadly cycle is emerging: security forces fire on funeral marches, killing more protesters and creating more funerals.” Over 100 people have been killed since protests first began.

– An archive of video footage from inside Libya has been posted online.



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