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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs