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Bahrain: Injuries, chemical gases and arrests on 2nd anniversary of Saudi occupation

The Saudi occupation of Bahrain on 14th March 2011 was marked yesterday by Bahraini people in their progressive, peaceful style; protests, strikes, sit-ins and calls for world bodies to take action against this illegal occupation. The 14th February Alliance had called for a general strike to take place yesterday. It was effective in most areas; shops and schools were closed, protests erupted at every corner of the towns and villages and several cities around the world observed the day with protests, seminars or statements. There was a unanimous verdict that the Saudis had committed a big crime by invading Bahrain. Its criminal act resulted in the killing of scores of Bahrainis, the detention and torture of more than four thousand people over the past two years, the destruction of more than forty mosques, the sacking of more than 5000 Bahrainis and the persecution of more than 70 percent of the population. The occupation had failed in achieving its main aim; the crushing of th e Revolution. Instead, the political strife has now reached the doorsteps of the Saudi royal family, with cities like Riyadh, Al Qaseem, Buraida, Al Jawf and others witnessing daily protests.

The Saudi crime was compounded yesterday by the attacks on civilian residential areas with chemical gases, shotguns and arrests. At least three Bahrainis were shot and remain in critical conditions as Alkhalifa dispatched their mercenaries to quell the peaceful protests. Calls were repeated to the international community to take action and stop what the Bahrainis consider “crimes tantamount in many cases to genocide”.

The Bahraini opposition in London has ended a week-long programme of activities to mark the Saudi occupation of the country. On Saturday 9th March they organised a protest outside UK Prime Minister office at Downing Street calling for an end to the security help by UK to Bahrain’s dictatorship. On Sunday they held a Rally at Marble Arch which was addressed by Bahrainis and their supporters from the Stop The War Coalition, CND and Labour CND. On Tuesday a seminar at the House of Lords was held and was covered by several media outlets. The Gulf Cultural Club and The Open Discussion organised a seminar on Wednesday which was addressed by Professor Madawi Al Rashid, a Saudi academic at King’s College, London, Professor Joshua Catallino, Dean of Faculty of Law at Middlesex University and Jalal Fairooz, former Bahraini MP. Another seminar in Arabic was held on Thursday at Abrar House.

Meanwhile the Bahraini Revolutionaries have dismissed the appointment of the Alkhalifa crown prince as first deputy of his uncle, the prime minister. Salman bin Hamad Alkhalifa, the dictator’s eldest son, is implicated in crimes of land expropriation, abetting in the crimes committed by his father and family, and supporting the security and military forces that had been instrumental in the killing and gassing of many Bahrainis. His blood-stained hands cannot be cleaned by his appointment and those who had promoted him as a “moderate” have acted with blindness, insensitivity or prejudice. The Revolution has not been about changing faces; the political system based on hereditary dictatorship has to give way to people’s freedom of choice and determination of destiny.

As the campaign against holding  Formula 1 car race in Bahrain gathers momentum, Vodafone is to end its long-running sponsorship of Formula One motor racing after announcing it will ditch its deal with McLaren at the end of the year. The telecoms giant said the move, which will bring to a close an association with Formula One dating back more than a decade, followed a review of its marketing strategy. Vodafone signed the McLaren deal, said to be worth £50 million a year, in 2007 and it included Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 drivers’ world title. But it is also thought Voda- fone’s move to review its F1 sponsorship was in part prompted by the group’s unease over the decision to run the Bahrain Grand Prix last year despite a violent uprising in the country. McLaren has said it will announce a replacement sponsor in December.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th March 2013


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