Archive for February 15th, 2012

15/02/2012

Bahrain – US-backed Regime Crushes Protest

Human Wrongs Watch

By Bill Van Auken – WSWS* – The US-backed monarchy in the island Gulf state of Bahrain unleashed intense repression on Monday [Feb.13] and Tuesday [Feb.14] to break up demonstrations by thousands of workers and youth marking the first anniversary of the brutally crushed pro-democracy protests that began on February 14, 2011.

**Image: Bahrain in pictures | Wikimedia Commons

The Bahraini protesters have demanded an end to the dictatorial rule of the al-Khalifa a regime, a Sunni monarchy, as well as jobs and equal rights for the country’s Shia majority, 70 percent of the population, which is subject to systematic discrimination.

Bahrain’s capital of Manama and its surrounding suburbs were placed under a tightened de facto state of siege with armored anti-riot cars lining the streets, thousands of police and troops deployed and barbed wire strung around the iconic Pearl Roundabout, the equivalent of Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

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15/02/2012

Bahrain, a Year After – Q&A with Activist Ahmed Mohammed

Human Wrongs Watch

By Zach Zill – Socialist Worker* – The small island nation of Bahrain sits in the Persian Gulf, between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. When the Tunisian and Egyptian uprising toppled U.S.-backed dictators last year, all of the region’s dictatorships trembled, including Bahrain. The winds of change inspired Bahrain’s downtrodden, and the country’s monarchy barely managed to maintain its grip on power.

**Image: A protester wounded during a Bahraini military assault against protesters in Feb. 2011

Ahmed Mohammed, a Bahraini activist visiting the U.S., spoke with Zach Zill about Bahrain’s rebellion, and what the future holds.

Can you talk about how the movement in Bahrain unfolded last February? Why did thousands of people come out to Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital of Manama?

The protests had originally aimed to make the government fulfill the promises of the king. These promises were made in a referendum the king put to the people in 2001.

The referendum offered us a bargain–turn Bahrain into a kingdom and the emir into a king, and in return, the dreaded state of emergency law would be ended, and a parliament with full legislative powers set up. He basically offered what the opposition had been demanding throughout the uprising of the 1990s. The referendum was widely welcomed and approved.

Then the king reneged on his promise. On February 14, 2002, the king announced a new constitution in which he concentrated power in his own hands. The parliament has virtually no legislative powers.

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