Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bahrain crackdown ahead of protests

Dire warnings from prime minister

By Brian Whitaker

"Tomorrow, August 14, is Bahrain’s Independence Day and opposition activists, mostly from the kingdom’s Shia majority, have called for mass demonstrations to press for a "free and democratic Bahrain".

In turn the kingdom’s rulers – from the Sunni minority – have banned protests in the capital, along with a host of other repressive measures, and have unleashed a fierce propaganda campaign against demonstrators in the local media.

"The government will forcefully confront the suspicious calls to violate law and order and those who stand behind them through decisive measures," the 77-year-old prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, warned. (Sheikh Khalifa, an uncle of the king, is the world’s longest-serving prime minister, having held the post continuously since 1970.)

Under a new edict – one of 22 announced last month – the regime is threatening action not only against those who “disturb civic peace” but also those who “support” such action.

"Terrorists, and those who provide them legitimacy and political cover, will be punished," Sheikh Khalifa said yesterday. "Those who support such calls will also be punished based.”........."

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