[Manama, BAHRAIN] Reem Khalifa, a Bahraini journalist who writes for Associated Press (AP) and for Bahrain’s only independent daily newspaper, Al- Wasat was attacked by a riot police on June 29, Human Rights First reported on Tuesday.
Khalifa was outside the Al Wasat building when three police cars stopped and a policeman fired a stun grenade directly at her.
According to eyewitnesses, the attack happened as protesters were clashing with riot police on Budaiya highway. “She was standing near a colleague far back from the protesters and talking on the phone. The policeman who stepped out of his car was Bahraini and he looked at her directly – he seemed to recognize her and then threw a stun grenade at her while other police fired tear gas in another direction. She ran away with some others,” Human Rights First quoted a witness as saying.
Al-Wefaq, the main opposition group in Bahrain, reported last week that its secretary-general, Sheikh Ali Salman, had been attacked by tear gas canisters and rubber bullets as he and other members of Al Wefaq were leading a march on the outskirts of the capital.
Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khawaja was also injured last week during a pro-democracy protest in the village of Boori. She was hit by a tear gas canister in the leg as she was trying to protect an elderly woman
According to Human Rights first "prominent members of civil society groups in Bahrain continue to be targets of harassment and abuse" despite claims by the regime that human rights reforms have been implemented.
Human Rights First has been denied entry into Bahrain twice this year, in January and last week.
The authorities in Bahrain have deliberately been obstructing the work of foreign and Bahraini reporters who seek to cover anti-government protests. Journalists are regularly denied visas to enter the country to such a great degree that AP is now the only international news agency in the country.