Bahraini Demonstrators Attack U.S. Embassy; Jordan State Television Organizes Telethon For Palestinians
Thousands of demonstrators attacked the U.S. embassy in Bahrain on Friday, some breaking into the compound and smashing windows in the main building to protest against Israeli raids on Palestinians in the West Bank.
Witnesses said hundreds of riot police clashed with the protesters, firing teargas and rubber bullets in a vain effort to keep them out of the smoke-filled compound.
According to Reuters, demonstrators hurled stones and petrol bombs at the main embassy building, some putting up a Palestinian flag while others yelled "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Some protesters set fire to U.S. flags.
Riot police dispersed the protesters after about one hour and fired repeated volleys of tear gas to prevent them from re-grouping. A political activist said about 80 people were taken to hospital for treatment to injuries from rubber bullets or tear gas, but a hospital doctor later told Reuters none of the injuries was serious.
The kingdom of Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Some demonstrators attacked a nearby McDonald's restaurant as a symbol of the U.S. presence in the small island state, smashing its windows. The Interior Ministry said in a statement it would take "appropriate measures" to avoid a repeat of Friday's violence.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, some 2,000 people defied for the second time this week a ban on demonstrations to show their support for the Palestinians outside the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Dhahran, residents said.
Police surrounded a march by some 2,500 pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside the nearby town of al-Qatif, but there were no reports of violence. The town is in a region that is home to Saudi Arabia's minority Shi'ite Muslims and the scene of sporadic unrest in the past.
In Jordan, thousands of demonstrators voiced their anger over Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership.
Later in the day, Jordanians and other Arabs rallied to a call by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and pledged around 10 million dollars to the Israeli-besieged Palestinian people during an 11-hour telethon on Jordan state television.
Abdullah set the tone by phoning in an unspecified contribution and paid tribute to the "resistance and heroism of the Palestinian people under (Israeli) occupation". "I also tell them that we stand with them and that we will work with every means in our possession to strengthen their resistance and defend their rights and their legitimate leadership," Abdullah said.
By 8:OO pm (1700 GMT) a total of seven million dinars (around 10 million dollars) were pledged and encouraged by the popular enthusiasm state television said it would extend the telethon.
Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb phoned in to pledge a "month's salary" for himself and each member in his 27-member government, which one official source told AFP amounted to a total of 40,000 dinars (56,000 dollars). The head of the royal court, Fayez Tarawneh, also pledged a month's salary for himself and his colleagues. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)