Fri February 18, 2011
The Two-Way

Bahrain: Peaceful Now, 'But No One Knows Where It's Headed'

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET: Prince Calls For Dialogue:

We're continuing to collect reports about another harsh crackdown on protesters today in Bahrain (you can hear shots being fired in the sound clips below from NPR's Peter Kenyon). There are reports of many injuries and some deaths.

"Bahrain's crown prince, known as a reformer among royals in the Gulf Arab kingdom, called on Friday for calm, saying it was 'time for dialogue, not fighting,' " Reuters reports. Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa appeared on Bahrain TV a short time ago.

Blogger Sultan Al Qassemi, who was monitoring the prince's statement, reports he also said: "We need to call for self-restraint from all sides, the armed forces, security men and citizens."

The Associated Press adds that "officials at the main Salmaniya hospital said at least 50 people were injured, some with gunshot wounds. Some doctors and medics on emergency medical teams were in tears as they tended to the wounded. X-rays showed bullets still lodged inside victims."

Update at 11:40 a.m. ET. Man Dies After Being Shot In Head, Guardian Reports:

From a hospital in Manama, Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov has filed this series of updates on his Twitter page:

-- "Just seen one man in hosp hit with live round in the head. In terrible shape. Not expected to live."

-- "Man shot in the head just died."

-- "Easily 10k people - all seething - inside hospital grounds. Anti regime chants non-stop."

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. We're continuing to collect reports about another harsh crackdown on protesters today in Bahrain (you can hear shots being fired in the sound clips below from NPR's Peter Kenyon). There are reports of many injuries and some deaths. Bahrain Online (an independent news source) has just posted this video that it says is from the scene in Manama:

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET. We added this earlier, as you'll see below. But for those of you just joining us we'll put this dramatic sound here as well. NPR's Peter Kenyon was speaking with the Newcast desk when shots rang out in Manama's Pearl Square today. Listen:

Update at 10:42 a.m. ET: The New York Times says that "forces in a helicopter fired on a reporter and videographer who were shooting a video on the latest violence."

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: We're continuing to collect reports about the gunfire today in Bahrain (which you can hear in the sound clips below from NPR's Peter Kenyon), where it appears the government has again cracked down on protesters. There are reports of many injuries and some deaths.

The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, who is at a hospital in Manama, just posted these messages on his Twitter page:

-- "Man in blood drenched shirt just walked in. Drs outraged, helping me get stories and video."

-- "Seems to be mostly rubber bullets. But terrible, gaping wounds, maybe meaning close range."

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET: The Associated Press reports that "soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air." CNN, though, says at least one person — a doctor — was killed.

Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: Sounds Of Shots:

NPR's Peter Kenyon was on the phone with NPR's Newcast just a short time ago. He was describing how a "large crowd" was walking toward the circle. "As they got close, as the front edge of this very long line of marchers got close, the sound of shots erupted — scattering everybody. I think I saw one person with a gunshot wound. I can't confirm that yet, they were carrying him off in a pickup truck. It looked like blood on the leg."

Then, as Peter was continuing to speak, the sound of ambulance sirens could be heard — followed by the sound of shots. "Ambulances had come and they were approaching, trying to get to the square ... and more shots were fired," Peter said. "The ambulances, most of them, quickly turned around and sped away."

In this audio clip recorded as Peter was speaking, you can hear the ambulances and the shots:

In this clip, Peter says it sounded like "live" fire to him:

And here is the entire recording:

Update at 9:33 a.m. ET: We just heard shots being fired in the background as NPR's Peter Kenyon was reporting from near Pearl Square in Manama. It's not known yet whether it was live ammunition, rubber bullets and whether the shots were aimed at the protesters. We'll add the audio as soon as we can.

Our original post:

One day after several people were killed and several hundred were wounded in Bahrain during a crackdown on protesters, there were emotional funerals today.

As NPR's Peter Kenyon reported yesterday, the mood among the mostly Shiite Muslim protesters in that Gulf State ruled by Sunnis seems to have turned from a demand for reforms to a demand for new leaders. Today, he says, there was no violence during the early funerals. But "whether there will be clashes later, we don't know. ... The situation is peaceful at the moment, but no one knows where it's headed."

Here's an audio report Peter filed for NPR's Newscast. You can hear some of the sounds of the funeral service in the background:

Reminder: NPR's Andy Carvin (@acarvin) is following what's being posted on Twitter about events in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and other countries being rocked by protests. There's also lots of information being collected by StoryfulPro (@storyfulpro). Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.