Leeds musician’s Bahrain ordeal

Alessandro Roberto.
Alessandro Roberto.
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A Leeds man has told of his horror at becoming trapped in a hotel just yards from the protests that are raging at the heart of the island state of Bahrain.

Alessandro Roberto, 24, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that helicopters fill the skies around The Gulf Hotel where he has taken shelter in the country’s capital Manama.

Views from his room are dominated by smoke billowing from Pearl Square that is just 400 metres away and is where hundreds of anti-government demonstrators have set up camp.

At least three people are thought to have been killed when police opened fire there yesterday in a bid to break up the campaigners.

Alessandro, who has been trying to get back to East End Park in Leeds where he lives with his fiancee, has so far been unable to find anyone willing to drive him to the airport.

Now the government has imposed a curfew from 4pm until 4am, making the journey even more difficult.

Alessandro arrived in Bahrain on Sunday March 8 on a three month contract to perform as the drummer in band Joe Public.

The YEP understands he was due to be escorted to the airport today (Thursday, March 17).

“We have had enough,” he said last night. “We want to go home. All of us.

“This morning we got woken up by banging, and helicopters and aircraft roaming around outside.

“We saw lots of smoke rising up from [Pearl] square.

“One guy who had just come from Saudi said the army’s everywhere and vehicles are covered in bullet holes.”

Alessandro has struggled to keep in touch with friends and family as mobile and internet signals are unreliable

He added: “I have been told that a lot of the roads have been blocked off.

“It’s all been a bit surreal. It all kicked off and seems to be getting worse.”

Alessandro is in Bahrain with band members Sean Greene, 23, from Huddersfield, and Shona Stewart, 23, from Leicester.

Former soldier and the band’s singer Paul Houlihan, 29, from Garforth, fled the country on Monday when he said it was clear that things were getting out of hand.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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