Bahrain's bitch slap: police video violence goes viral
Slap me once.
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It was a slap too far for Arab netizens when one Bahrain police officer decided to hit a man in the face while he was carrying his baby in his arms. The video, posted by Aali News, purports to show the policeman slapping the citizen with no justification at all.
The footage has now been viewed more than 200,000 times, according to the Global Voices website and has attracted comments from some of the region's biggest online names.
The scene takes place in A'ali, one of the biggest towns in the country, where officers were carrying out "inspections" on Sunday this week. One policeman, called "Ali Aaref", decides to speak to a citizen of the town, who is carrying his young child. Despite the baby-in-tow, the officer slaps the man in the face, apparently without reason.
Now everyone from UAE political commentators to Kuwaiti poets have expressed outrage at the footage, which seems to show yet more violence by Bahrain's authorities.
The country's Sunni government has been battling a series of uprisings from the majority Shia community, resulting in numerous clashes between police and protestors in the past two years. So it comes as no surprise that A'ali, where the video was shot, is a Shia majority town.
Arab commentator, Sultan Alqassemi, called the police officer's actions an abuse of power, while TV personality, Waleed Al Farraj tweeted that it was "a scandal that is hard to amend."
Bahrain's police have continued to arrest and detain the largely Shia protestors who claim that the government has lost its legitimacy in power.
Renowned activist and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, was arrested in April last year for his part in the pro-democracy protests sweeping the country. He was formally charged with "managing a terrorist organization" and given a life sentence.
Al-Khawaja and his daughter, Zainab, have both gained huge online followings after the Bahraini authorities reportedly harassed them for trying to organize demonstrations against the government.
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