Opposition groups in Bahrain vows to continue protests
Bahrain's opposition parties have vowed to continue protesting until their demands for more democracy are met, local media reported Sunday.
The general-secretary of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, Shaikh Ali Salman, announced on behalf of the opposition Saturday night that a procession would be organized Tuesday evening near the United Nations office in the heart of Manama, the reports said.
The announcement was made after the government of Bahrain prevented protesters from reaching the location of a procession Saturday, citing security reasons for being on a busy road, Xinhua reported.
Hundreds gathered near Al Wefaq's headquarters to express their right to hold peaceful gatherings.
Al Wefaq in a statement highlighted that action taken clearly affirmed that the government is against freedom of expression and Bahrainis are civilized and peaceful.
Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Al Hassan defended the government's decision to decline permission for the planned procession. "Security forces have taken legal measures to prevent the procession because it was planned on the busy Services Road and near a highway on Saturday evening in order to protect public safety," he said while apologizing for disturbance in traffic flow.
Hassan said that Bahraini law protects the right to public gatherings and freedom of expression but only if public security, general order and the economic interests of the community are not disturbed.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Ali has claimed that armed security forces in civilian clothes are attacking residents in Dar Kulaib, which is a village close to one of the palaces of Bahrain's King. He sent a letter Saturday to the King complaining of those attacks that he insisted occurred every night.
The Ministry of Interior denied on the same day such attacks and attributed the issue to sectarian clashes between residents of different sects.
The ministry's spokesperson revealed the arrest of several individuals and the case was referred to the public prosecution. He said that recent attacks between residents as well as rioting in Hamad Town and Dar Kulaib required the interference of the security forces. Legal measures were used to prevent further clashes.
Unrest continues in Bahrain that started early last year with no sign of calm, despite the release of a report by an independent international body on Bahrain that suggests various recommendations to bring the country back to normal. The government has vowed to implement those recommendations, in which some have been already implemented.