February 18, 2011
As a heavy moon rose above Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout, the locus of the island nation’s protest this week, the army opened fire on a group of men who had just sat down for evening prayer. The military fired live ammunition from nearby buildings or from tanks. It was hard to tell because of the ensuing melee. Canisters of tear gas rained down.
The men scattered as they tried to outrun the billowing wave of tear gas. They squatted in the wing of a small mosque nearby where I and another reporter joined them seeking refuge. The wails of sirens rent the air. “We were peaceful,” says Hussein Mashkoor, 25, a technical consultant. “Can you see any armed people here? We want a kingdom with a king but where the people have the right to choose their government.”