News / Middle East

Bahrain Opposition Vows to Keep Protesting

Opposition leaders (from left to right) Mahmood al-Rajab, Radhi Mohsen al-Mosawi and Sheikh Ali Salman speak at a joint press conference in Umm Al Hassam, Bahrain, February 15, 2012.
Opposition leaders (from left to right) Mahmood al-Rajab, Radhi Mohsen al-Mosawi and Sheikh Ali Salman speak at a joint press conference in Umm Al Hassam, Bahrain, February 15, 2012.

Opposition parties in Bahrain have vowed to carry on with public demonstrations for political reform, after security forces prevented activists from staging a mass rally to mark the first anniversary of their uprising. 

A number of clashes between police and opposition supporters were reported throughout Tuesday’s anniversary and into Wednesday.

Rights groups say Bahraini forces used tear gas and birdshot pellets on demonstrators, which left about 100 people injured.

Many activists had attempted to march back to the original site of their protest movement, the former Pearl Roundabout, but were stopped with force.

Six Americans from an advocacy group called Witness Bahrain were detained near the site, which is now a restricted military zone. They were later deported for entering the country under “false pretences.”

Despite the government having the clear upper hand in the conflict, Sheikh Ali al-Salman, leader of the main opposition party al-Wefaq, says his supporters will carry on demanding change in the streets.

“The people will continue to raise their demands until [they] achieve a democratic system in Bahrain,” he said.

The majority of Bahrain’s opposition are Shi’ite Muslims, who make up roughly 70 percent of the country’s indigenous population. They say they are treated like second-class citizens and not given the same rights as the Sunni minority which rules the kingdom.   They are calling for Bahrain to become a constitutional monarchy.

Opposition parties continue to criticize the government for allowing security officials to use, what they call, excessive force against civilians.  Last year, the parties pulled out of a national dialogue, saying they had received unequal representation in it.

According to Jumal Fakhro, first vice chairman of Bahrain’s Shura Council legislative body, reconciliation relies on opposition participation in the discussions.

“They cannot put the blame on the government and be outside the game, they should come and participate,” said Fakhro.

Fakhro says the opposition’s actions show they are not interested in compromise.

“I think they believe that the only way that they can win the battle is by being aggressive on the street,” he said.

Not so, according to Radhi Mohsen al-Mosawi, deputy secretary-general for political affairs of the Wa’ad party.  He says the opposition also believes dialogue is the only way to solve Bahrain’s problems.  But he says the government must give fair representation to all parties and clarify its intentions for holding talks.

“They have to declare what they want from this dialogue. They didn’t tell us anything,” said al-Mosawi.

As political stalemate in Bahrain continues, violence in the country grows.  An increasing number of protesters are hurling firebombs and stones at police during weekly altercations. The protesters say it is partly in retaliation for what they say is the indiscriminate use of tear gas in residential areas.

Rights groups say more than 60 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters since civil unrest began a year ago.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs