Bahrain ministers have not resigned, say government source

February 18, 2011

A government source has denied allegations that three ministers resigned on Thursday to protest over the death of protesters during a drive by the security forces to evacuate the Pearl Roundabout.

“The claims are baseless and totally lack credibility,” the source said.

“The ministers are in their offices doing their routine work.”

Rumours spread in the morning in Manama that Majeed Al Alawi, the labour minister, Faisal Al Hamer, the health minister, Nizar Al Baharna, the state minister for foreign affairs, had stepped down over the pre-dawn movement by security forces to push protesters out of the Pearl Roundabout, the symbolic representation of Bahrain’s pre-oil trade in pearl.

Al Alawi and Al Baharna, both former opposition figures, were rumoured to have resigned out of sympathy with the victims while Al Hamer allegedly could not stand the pressure by medical staff at Salmaniya hospital who staged a rally to call for his departure for not offering assistance to the wounded.

Ali Saleh Al Saleh, the chairman of the parliament’s upper chamber, was also said to have given up his post. The allegation was however quickly dismissed.

The situation remained tense in the aftermath of the evacuation of the Pearl Roundabout, termed necessary by the interior ministry to preserve people’s private and business interests which were allegedly disrupted by the three-day sit-in.

Opposition figures decried the use of force and Ebrahim Shareef, the head of the leftist National Action Democratic Society, said that the security staff could have used high-pressure water cannons to disperse the protesters.

Al Wefaq, the largest bloc in the parliament, decried the evacuation and sought to maintain the pressure following its announcement that it was boycotting the sessions of the lower chamber, where it holds 18 of the 40 seats, until constitutional amendments are introduced.

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister, will hold a meeting with his Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts on Thursday afternoon amid speculations that the situation in Bahrain would top the agenda of the talks.

Social networking has been thriving days before the demonstrations on February 14, but peaked on Thursday morning amid a wide array of seemingly robust claims and clearly acid counter-claims that have baffled followers and caused confusion.



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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