Monday, April 15, 2024

Bahrain protesters block roads

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MANAMA – Police fired tear gas and water cannon Sunday at demonstrators protesting against Bahrain’s royal family in one of the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.
Bahrain’s crown prince offered the mainly Shi’ite opposition assurances that national dialogue would address their demands, hours after the protesters, mainly youths, built barricades across the highway leading to Bahrain Financial Harbour.
“Investment in Bahrain is for everyone not just one person,” said Ali, a protester at the Financial Harbour which has become a symbol of what protesters say are royal excesses. “That’s why we have problems. It’s not about Sunnis and Shi’ites.”
One protester showed a red mark on his chest, which he said was from a gas canister shot directly at him. Others showed a Reuters reporter rubber bullets they said were fired by police.
Bahrain has been gripped by its worst unrest since the 1990s after protesters took to the streets last month, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.
The kingdom has seen weeks of rallies by its Shi’ite majority, which says it is discriminated against by the Sunni royal family. The unrest is being closely watched in Saudi Arabia, where Shi’ites are some 15 percent of the population.
The White House urged Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, to show restraint and engage in dialogue.
Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa promised national dialogue would look at bolstering the power of the parliament and that any deal could be put to nationwide referendum. (Reuters)

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