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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid