Iran’s Press TV posted shocking video on Sunday showing a vehicle allegedly slamming into a protester. According to Press TV, the SUV was driven by pro-government militiamen in Bahrain, and the victim is an anti-government protester.
The video shows about a dozen youths wearing masks to hide their identities who have set up a row of tires as a makeshift roadblock. That's when an SUV traveling at high speed slams into one of the protesters who was in the street. Video was taken from two angles, from both behind and in front of the speeding vehicle.
His friends listen for a heartbeat and then pick him up and carry him out of frame.
After that scene, the video shows a man in a traditional white robe and head covering firing his pistol into the air. Based on the dusk-like lighting, that part of the video appears to have been filmed at a later time of day. Press TV explains this is a video being widely disseminated on Arabic websites.
The last part of the video shows a march which Press TV says took place in the Boori district of Manama. That video shows tear gas falling near protesters and another injured man being carried away by friends. Here is the video posted by Press TV:
That Iran’s English language network would prominently display the video of the protester being run over is no coincidence. Bahraini authorities have accused Iran of orchestrating the Arab Spring-inspired protests – some of which have turned violent – which are now entering their third year.
TheBlaze cannot verify the video's authenticity, its date or location, or if the SUV was driven by pro-government forces as Press TV claims. The condition of the protester who was hit was not reported.
According to Press TV’s description, the hit-and-run occurred in Dar Kulaib, a village about 17 miles from Bahrain’s capital Manama. Dar Kulaib has been a hotbed for anti-government protests.
This would not be the first time a vehicle has been used as a low-tech weapon by anti-government protesters and Bahraini security forces. An internet search results in multiple examples of this method.
The following video uploaded to YouTube in March 2011 shows at least two SUVs repeatedly running over a person who is slumped on the ground of what appears to be a parking lot. The vehicles take at total of three passes over the individual. According to the description of the video, the SUVs were allegedly driven by Bahraini protesters and the victim is described as a riot policeman. TheBlaze cannot verify the video’s location, date or the details as described on YouTube.
The majority of Bahrainis are Shi’ite, but they are ruled by the Sunni King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Bahrain is also host to the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. But relations with the U.S. have been strained over the unrest, because Bahraini leaders believe the Obama administration has not sufficiently supported their efforts to quell the uprising.
In a December report for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mideast scholar Simon Henderson wrote that at the annual Manama Dialogue conference, Bahrain’s crown prince “failed to mention the United States by name when listing allies that have provided critical support during the disturbances. He also spoke of countries that ‘selectively’ criticize Bahrain's leadership, without citing specific examples.”
Henderson writes that the omission was described by the Associated Press as a "diplomatic flap" and a "public slap against Washington."
On February 14, Reuters - quoting an opposition website - reported on protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising during which an opposition teenager and a security official were killed. It described the scene:
Several hundred demonstrators, mostly youths from largely Shi'ite villages, blocked roads around the capital Manama and hurled stones and fire bombs at police, who responded with birdshot and tear gas, witnesses said.
Security forces confirmed they had fired warning shots at the crowds and one young man had been killed in the protests, which began in the early morning and lasted almost all day.
The Interior Ministry said a security official was killed in a "terrorist attack" using what it said was an inflammable projectile, according to a statement on its Twitter account.
Reuters described the clashes as “the most violent in recent months.” Demonstrations were reported almost daily leading up to the anniversary. More than 50 have been killed since the unrest began in February 2011, including both protesters and security forces.
The protesters have been calling for equal rights for Shi’ites and for ending the Sunni regime. Besides Bahraini accusations of Iranian involvement, the uprising has another element of regional significance as it is a venue – besides Syria – in which the Saudi and Iranian rivalry is playing out. Saudi leaders would like not only to contain the Bahraini protests for its neighbor's sake, but to make sure they don’t spread to Saudi Arabia, itself a hotspot for Shiite unrest.