Tensions mounting in Bahrain, one year on from the start of the popular uprising. Online campaigning for the release of US soldier Bradley Manning. And a purple squirrel has captured the attention of American web users.
A year after revolution, tensions rising in Bahrain
The 14th of February was to be the "day of return" for opposition activists in Bahrain. Protesters attempted to return to Pearl Square to mark the first anniversary of the popular uprising which saw Shiite activists take to the streets to protest the rule of the Sunni royal family. As we can see in this amateur video footage, over the past few days hordes of protesters have marched towards this symbolic area in Manama that served as the epicenter of weeks of demonstrations last year.
But security forces have been deployed en masse to the capital to prevent them from doing so, firing tear gas to disperse crowds. The Interior Ministry has issued a statement, with photos to boot, claiming the police were just taking the necessary precautions to control the rally, saying it was no longer a peaceful demonstration.
Over the past few days security forces have arrested a number of activists, including Zainab al-Khawaja, better known under her pseudonym ‘Angry Arabiya’. A blogger, and also the daughter of a prominent human rights activist currently in prison, she was arrested on Sunday as she marched towards Pearl Square with a small group of protesters.
Another leading opposition figure, Nabeel Rajab, was with his family when he tried to enter Pearl Square. He explains in this video that his aim was to mobilize all levels of Bahraini society. When tear gas canisters were thrown in his direction he was forced to retreat. This did little to discourage him though, he returned to the roundabout on Monday with hundreds of other demonstrators.
And many activists, like Anmar Kamalaldin have been voicing their commitment to the movement via Twitter, vowing sooner or later, they will return to Pearl Square.
Online mobilization for Bradley Manning
24 year old Bradley Manning, the alleged Wikileaks “mole”, will be facing formal trial in the US on the 23rd February. He will then stand before a court martial where if convicted he could be facing a life prison sentence. He has a vast support network campaigning for him, demanding his immediate release.
Manning’s supporters have been making great use of the web to get their message across. Two sites in particular have been extremely active in the fight for the soldier’s freedom. The first, freebradley.com, has been asking web users to show their support by displaying these banners on their blogs or social network profiles. The second, bradleymanning.org has started various petitions defending the soldier who is considered a traitor by the US army.
And Private Manning can also count on the support of numerous artists. These groups have composed songs for him; songs which look back over the affair, denouncing, amongst other things, the harsh conditions of his detention.
And although the majority of campaigning for Bradley Manning has been taking place in the United States, support rallies have been organized all over the world on a regular basis. Like here in Frankfurt, Germany two weeks ago. The stated aim of the demonstrations is to lobby the American government to end what activists call an unacceptable situation.
Now trending on social networks
Up until two weeks ago, Jeremy Lin was a virtual unknown in the basketball world, but in just five matches he has become the latest star of the American NBA league. The New York Knicks player’s dazzling rise to the top is reflected in his growing popularity on social networks, where he has drawn thousands of fans in just a few days. Web users have been getting their thinking caps on to come up with a fitting nickname. At just 23 years old, he is the only Asian American in the NBA, and we most certainly haven’t heard the last of him.
A purple squirrel is an Internet celebrity
You have to see it to believe it. Last week a couple from Pennsylvania in the US captured a purple squirrel, posted photos of it on Facebook and released it back into the wild. How can this be possible? All sorts of theories are circulating online. Some think it drank polluted water, others say it fell into a can of paint. The purple squirrel itself though now has accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, and says “mummy was red and daddy was blue”.
Video of the day
For French paraglider Jean-Baptiste Chandelier, mountains and vast open spaces are not indispensable. As he shows us in this fantastic video, paragliding can also be an urban sport, moving between buildings and over houses. The video was filmed in cities all over the world and you can watch it in its entirety on sharing sites.