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02/19/2011

UPDATED: The Story behind the Toronto Star front page picture by Lucas Oleniuk in Bahrain

LucasFRONT

 

Lucas Oleniuk - Staff Photographer

I was following a group of Shiite protesters, about 1,500 of them, marching downtown to Pearl Square from the town of Budaiya on the outskirts of Manama on Friday evening.They had heard they would meet a pro-government rally in the centre of Manama, so they expected to be met by police.

The protesters turned down a street near Pearl Square - the scene of earlier clashes between protesters and police - and about half a kilometre away, you could see there was a blockade. We got to about 300 metres from where the government security forces were standing, some dressed in military fatigues, others in plain clothes.

There was a small barricade in front of them, a line of about eight fences that said "police" - their line in the sand.

There were about 30 protesters ahead of me and behind me the rest of the crowd, more than a thousand more.

Some protesters brought flowers to present to police, but there's a sentiment of martyrdom that does not escape these people right now. They are ready to be met with force. They are ready to be fired on.

I approached carefully, expecting the police would unleash tear gas, or give a warning to stop. We crossed the police barricade, and about 20 seconds later, they started firing. The barrage of fire lasted a good 10 seconds. I thought police were firing live ammunition over our heads, then people started falling.

The photograph on the front page comes from a burst of frames I shot after first lifting my camera to my eye. I ran, photographing the fleeing protesters, but when I looked back and saw an injured man lying on the ground, I stopped to take pictures of him and others carrying him to safety (above).
Some protesters returned afterward, ready to be fired on again.

What was I thinking? Well,  I had these tight back muscles, because I was hoping nothing hit me in the back. There was a lot of adrenalin going through me: What should I look for? How can I portray this?
I took to safety quickly. It's risky being here, so to come away from it without an image that represents what happened is my biggest fear.

LO_brain57
 Holding flowers a Shiite anti-regime demonstrator turns to run as a large group of demonstrators drew fire from Bahraina security forces near Manama when they tried to march downtown to the Pearl Square from the town of Budaiya Friday evening.  A state sanctioned pro-regime rally was underway in downtown Manama when the clash occured.

LO_brain46A
 The next frame shows the demonstrators and and the odd angle of Oleniuk's camera as they run.

LO_brain47A
 A protestor, unconscious and not breathing, was rushed away from Bahraini security forces after being shot in the head moments earlier.  A group of Shiite anti-regime demonstrators drew fire from Bahrain security forces near Manama when they tried to march downtown to the Pearl Square from the town of Budaiya Friday evening.  A state sanctioned pro-regime rally was underway in downtown Manama when the clash occurred.

LO_brain42A
 Shots have been fired, man falls. Bahraini security forces fired upon a group of protestors, some of whome, were transporting a man with severe abdominal wounds to an ambulance.

InsideA
Part of the Centre spread in the Saturday Star on Lucas Oleniuk's picture.

Video of the incident that Lucas was involved in. You can see Lucas sprinting with camera to his eye at about 53 seconds in!

  

A day later the demonstrators followed by Lucas Oleniuk enter Pearl Square 

More of Lucas Oleniuk's pictures from Bahrain 

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thank you to the men in the age group 20-30. Where are your women? Where are your gender non-descript wise? Do we thank those that are there and understand the risks they take that preclude others or do we think you warrior wannabes and misguided youths? No judgement from so far away. Safety to all. Peace.

@Lucas Oleniuk- One of your pics previously shown but not depicted today was of a woman kissing a police car. The hand sticking out of the burka looks like a man's hand. Could government agents have donned burkas for photo-ops favourable to the government?

horrorrrr!!!!!!!!!!ohuchhhhhhhhhhhhh

Without the international media there this would be a much different story. Be safe.

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