The King of Bahrain may have officially “forgiven” the pro-democracy demonstrators whose calls for free elections led him to endorse a Saudi invasion of the country and a brutal crackdown, but it hasn’t changed his tactics.
Today, a small protest in the town of Sitra was attacked by police, who fired tear-gas canisters into the crowd and killed a 14 year old. This level of police violence seems tame by the standards set earlier this year, but it is sparking a new surge of anger against the regime among the nation’s Shi’ite majority, which still hopes to see elections at some point.
Police just up and killing somebody with a “non-lethal projectile” is nothing new, and people usually just shrug it off as one of those crazy things police do sometimes, but this killing is particularly galling both because of the history of anti-protester violence and because the Bahraini government denied police were even there.
Incredibly, despite dozens of witnesses who put police at the scene and a confirmation that he died when they shot a canister at him, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry insists no police were present and is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of “those responsible.” In all likelihood, this will mean the arrest of the doctor that treated him or the witnesses for making the regime look bad.