Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bahrain: the protesters up tents

The police tried to block access to the Place de la Perle, in the capital. But opponents have returned.
Protesters began to erect tents instead of the Pearl in Manama, where they returned Saturday two days after dispersal by security forces of a sit-in.
Thousands of protesters were actually assembled in the square, the epicenter of the pro-democracy protest, shortly after the withdrawal of the army of Manama as demanded by the opposition, mainly Shiite. Thursday at dawn, security forces forcibly dispersed protestors camped on this spot for the second consecutive night to demand reforms, killing four protesters. 

Withdrawal of the army Police dispersed the Saturday shot teargas demonstrators began to converge on the Place de la Perle in Manama immediately after the withdrawal of tanks and army vehicles. The security forces have conducted at least three arrests among the protesters, quickly arrived on the scene on foot and by car, and blocked access to the site.
The withdrawal of the army out of Manama has been ordered by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. The withdrawal was a condition put by the opposition for a dialogue with the government, proposed by Crown Prince.
Call for dialogue
For his part, King of Bahrain has invited "all parties" to initiate a national dialogue to try to resolve the political crisis that left six dead and hundreds injured in the archipelago of the Gulf ally of the United States. The main opposition bloc of Shiite country, Wefak, rejected the offer Saturday.
Faced with a wave of protest, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said Friday that the crown prince had "full power to realize the hopes and aspirations of all citizens from all walks of life." The crown prince, Sheikh Salman ibn Hamad Al Khalifa, called for calm. "It's time to sit down and talk, not fighting," he said on television.
The Shiites feel discriminated
"We do not feel a genuine desire to engage because of the presence of the army in the streets," he told Reuters Ibrahim Mattar, member of the training, which left the parliament Thursday. The demonstrators, mostly Shiites, calling for political and social reforms in the kingdom ruled by the Sunni Khalifa family. Bahrain's Shiite Muslims, who constitute 70% of the population consider themselves discriminated against in employment, social services, utilities and housing. In 1999, King issued a constitution authorizing the election of a parliament with some authority, but the royal family still dominates a firm headed by the uncle of the king who rules over the past 40 years. More than 60 people were hospitalized Saturday after suffering the firing of the police the previous evening when they took the direction of the Place de la Perle, in Manama, the capital. One protester said he saw police fire on protesters instead of the Pearl. "I've seen people hit in several places. They were firing live ammunition." The army has taken over Thursday by the force control room that the protesters had hoped to transform into a rallying point of protest to the image of Tahrir Square in Cairo.

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