Freedom is apparently a dangerously contagious virus.Skirmishes broke out early Monday between heavily armed police and scattered groups of young people in villages outside of the capital, as this strategically important nation in the Persian Gulf braced to see if the wave of unrest which has toppled two presidents would reach its sun-scorched shores.
Shops stayed closed and shuttered, the streets were clear of cars amid a heavy police presence, and there were calls for universities to close in anticipation of what organizers here have called Bahrain’s own “Day of Rage,” a demonstration modeled after the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
“What happened in Egypt and Tunisia inspired us,” said Maryam al Khawaja, 23, with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Monday. “For years, there has been hopelessness here. Are we ever really going to be able to change anything? With Egypt, there is a sense of empowerment, that the young people can do it.”