News / Middle East

Bahrain to 'Forcefully Confront' Planned Aug. 14 Protests

A Bahraini woman and children pray in a street in Malkiya, Bahrain, after participating in call of "God is greater" that echoed through opposition villages nationwide, Aug. 12, 2013.
A Bahraini woman and children pray in a street in Malkiya, Bahrain, after participating in call of "God is greater" that echoed through opposition villages nationwide, Aug. 12, 2013.
Reuters
Bahrain's prime minister said on Monday his government would “forcefully confront” protests called for later this week, and warned those behind planned demonstrations that they would be punished, state news agency BNA reported.
 
Protesters inspired by youth-led protests in Egypt that pushed the army to oust Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last month called for rallies on Wednesday, at a time of escalating clashes between police and pro-opposition demonstrators.
 
“The government will forcefully confront the suspicious calls to violate law and order and those who stand behind them through decisive measures,” BNA quoted Prime Minister Sheik Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa as saying after a meeting to discuss preparations to confront the planned protests.
 
“It will punish [those] who stand behind them in line with the recommendations of the Bahrain National Council [parliament], which represents the will of the people of Bahrain,” he added.
 
Bahrain has banned protests in the capital Manama and toughened anti-terrorism laws, including imposing longer prison terms and stripping perpetrators of Bahraini nationality, which human rights groups said could lead to a crackdown on protesters.
 
August 14 marks the day in 1971 when Bahrain gained independence from Britain.
 
“Tamarrod” [rebel] is a loose grouping of opposition activists who came together in early July to push for a “free and democratic Bahrain” through mass anti-government demonstrations, according to social media, quoting the group.
 
Sunni Muslim-ruled Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, crushed pro-democracy protests by majority Shi'ite Muslims in 2011.
 
But demonstrations continue to take place from time to time, often resulting in clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
 
The government and opposition groups have sought to discuss their differences in reconciliation talks launched in February, but the dialog has yet to produce results.
 
Sheik Khalifa on Saturday accused anti-government protesters of seeking to foment chaos and topple the government, and said Bahrain was being targeted in order to destabilize the Gulf - a possible reference to Iran, which Manama has accused of instigating the unrest.
 
Tehran has denied the accusations.
 
The opposition, mostly made up of members of the majority Shi'ite community, demands that the Sunni al-Khalifa ruling family introduces democracy in Bahrain, a close U.S. ally.
 
Many Shi'ites complain of discrimination in jobs and have been calling for a constitutional monarchy. The government denies discriminating against Shi'ites.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

update Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid