Calls for mass protests as Bahrain lifts emergency law
Tension reigned in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on Wednesday, where some activists called for protests to resume as the government lifted emergency laws, which had been in place for over two months, DPA reported.
Tanks disappeared from the streets of Manama, although security forces maintained a few roadblocks in the city.
The emergency law, imposed in March following weeks of massive anti-government protests, banned all demonstrations and public gatherings, and allowed for arbitrary arrests.
Troops from neighbouring Gulf nations were also deployed to the island kingdom to help quell the unrest.
The protests were often met with brutal government crackdowns. At least 24 people were killed in the unrest, according to the government.
International rights group Amnesty International called on the government to refrain from violence in the face of fresh protest.
"The Bahraini authorities must not make the same mistakes as in February and March, when largely peaceful protests were violently suppressed by government security forces," Malcolm Smart, the group's Middle East and North Africa Director, said in a report published on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters, activists, and journalists have been arrested, and some face military trials.
"At least 2,000 people have also been dismissed or suspended from their jobs, apparently for participating in the protests," the report said.
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Tuesday called for reform talks starting July 1 "without preconditions."
The king called on "both the executive and the legislature authorities to call for a dialogue for national consensus."