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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs