Bahrain makes more arrests as authorities issue final warnings to “illegal” groups

August 17, 2010

Bahrain has arrested at least seven more people on suspicion of involvement in acts of violence, sabotage and arson across the country.

“A gang on Sunday evening started burning tyres and hurling Molotov cocktails, which stalled people’s interests, terrorized individuals, and put lives and public and private property at risk,” a public security statement said. “The public security police moved in to tackle the criminal acts and took the necessary security measures. The suspects have been referred to the General Prosecution.”

Bahrain last week vowed a zero-tolerance policy towards those who incited or were involved in acts of violence and sabotage against people or private and public property.

The pledge followed the arrest of Abdul Jalil Al Singace, the spokesman for Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy, upon his return from London. His arrest sparked a new wave of protests and clashes with riot police.

Three more people were arrested on Sunday amid official statements about the existence of a network targeting the country’s stability and security.

On Tuesday, the justice and Islamic affairs ministry said that societies that have been formed “outside the boundaries of the law” have until the end of Ramadan to regularize their situation.

“There will be no grace or tolerance for the societies that do not regularize their situation before the end of the holy month,” the minister said in a statement. “There are several societies that were formed without consideration for the country’s constitution and laws and have been exploiting the freedom of expression prevailing in the country. They have gone too far in their action and are now targeting people and property,” he said.

On Monday afternoon, the justice and Islamic affairs ministry said that all political societies must take a strong stance to ensure the end of violence and help preserve the country’s stability.

“The acts of violence and sabotage should be condemned by all political societies and national unity must be preserved,” the ministry said in a statement. “Political formations must work within legal limits to achieve social peace and democracy in the manner stipulated by the National Action Charter … The societies must exercise extreme vigilance and caution in all matters in order to help maintain national unity.”

Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest society, issued a statement calling for calm and for dialogue to help address the escalating situation.

Haq, formed in November 2005 mainly by former members of Al Wefaq after they differed with society leaders over registration under the societies’ law, does not recognize the constitution promulgated in 2002 and has opposed elections.

Eligible Bahraini voters will on October 23 and 30 elect 40 lawmakers and 40 municipal councilors. The polls will be the third held in the kingdom since the promulgation of the constitution and the reinvigoration of the parliament following a three-decade hiatus.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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