News / Middle East

Bahrain Opposition Rejects Calls for Government Dialogue

Bahraini anti-government protesters run for cover in Manama on February 19, 2011 after police fired tear gas to disperse them at Pearl Square
Bahraini anti-government protesters run for cover in Manama on February 19, 2011 after police fired tear gas to disperse them at Pearl Square

Multimedia

Audio

Bahrain’s main opposition group has rejected a government offer to begin discussions over the political unrest sweeping the Gulf country. The al-Wefaq block says it will not take part in talks until the military is removed from the streets of the capital Manama. Tanks and soldiers have been stationed around the city’s Pearl Roundabout since Thursday, when authorities used tear gas, rubber bullets and birdshot to disperse anti-government protesters who were camping there.

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Khalifa, justified the deadly crackdown saying it was necessary because demonstrators were pushing the country to what he characterized as the "brink of a sectarian abyss."

Protesters attempted to march back to the Pearl Roundabout on Friday, but were again fired upon.

Shortly afterwards, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Khalifa called for a national dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Abdul Jalil, a senior member of al-Wefaq, says the group does not believe the government’s request for cooperation is sincere. "We hear [the calls], but what we see on the ground is the language of bullets, so it’s really the opposite messages we receive from them. I don’t know if the Crown Prince has the political card only or has the military, police card as well," he said.

Abdul Jalil was one of 18 members of al-Wefaq who quit parliament to protest the recent violence against demonstrators.

They say they will only return when the king agrees to transform the nation into a constitutional democracy with an elected government.

However, Jalil says the group will start talks with the government if certain conditions are met. "The first step: the government has to withdraw its forces from the streets," he said. "No more killing people. We don’t want to see people being killed or injured number one. Let people go to the Pearl Roundabout then start a dialogue."

Protests inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt began in Bahrain on February 14.  Originally, demonstrators were calling for more equality, more rights and the release of political prisoners.   But now, they are demanding a new government.

Early Saturday morning, demonstrators at Manama’s main hospital began chanting: "Go, go Hamad," in reference to the king.

Many of the protesters had been camped at the hospital since late Friday, when injured people were being rushed in from the Pearl Roundabout.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid