Bahrain keeps fighting for democracy

This video is called Bahrain activists urge more protests despite bloodshed.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

10,000 return to streets of Bahrain

Sunday 12 June 2011

by Tom Mellen

Over 10,000 people rallied in the capital of Bahrain on Saturday to resume the campaign for basic civil rights in the US-allied kingdom.

The “Bahrain, homeland for all” rally was mounted 10 days after the ruling al-Khalifa clan lifted a state of emergency that was imposed in mid-March in a bid to nip the country’s nascent pro-democracy movement in the bud.

At least 31 people are believed to have died at the hands of government forces and a 1,500-strong Saudi-led expeditionary force since then.

Demonstrators held a minute’s silence on Saturday for those killed.

Opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman of the Al-Wefaq party told crowds that the crackdown had “left deep wounds in the body of the homeland.

“But it only strengthened the determination of the people to voice their legitimate demands and cemented their belief in the need for real reform.”

Union-backed civil rights rallies kicked off in February to press popular demands for a constitutional monarchy.

Mr Salman reiterated calls on Saturday for an elected chamber to be vested with exclusive legislative and regulatory powers, electoral constituencies to be redrawn to prevent gerrymandering – and a fully elected government.

At present roughly half of serving cabinet ministers in Bahrain are members of the Khalifa family.

Prime Minister Khalifah bin Salman al-Khalifah, who was appointed to the post by his brother in 1971, is the uncle of the current king.

Mr Salman rubbished as a “big lie” claims that protesters want to establish a Shi’ite Islamic state.

He extended a hand to the country’s ruling Sunni minority on Saturday.

“We want a civic and a democratic state – my dear Sunnis, let us put hand in hand to advance our political system, build our nation and safeguard the future of our children.”

Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been locked down for months as authorities and their Saudi allies launched massive arrest sweeps and military patrols to suppress the protests.

“We salute every mother who lived through the fear of having the door of her home kicked in by security forces or her children taken away,” Mr Salman said.

Also from The Morning Star:

US approved £125m of arms to Bahrain

Sunday 12 June 2011

by Our Foreign Desk

Bahrain received over $200 million (£125m) in military equipment from US companies in the 12 months from October 2009, according to the latest State Department arms export report.

The document tallies up US-authorised arms sales between US manufacturers and foreign governments.

It was more than double the $89m (£55m) approved over the previous US financial year.

Most of the money was spent on aircraft and electronics, but the US also approved over $920,000 (£570,000) worth of naval equipment and $760,000 (£470,000) worth of firearms.

Bahrain’s security forces have fired live ammunition at crowds of civil rights protesters, killing 31 people and injuring hundreds more since the unrest began in mid-February.

The likelihood that US-made weapons have been used against peaceful protesters has led to questions in Congress.

Assistant Secretary of State Miguel Rodriguez told Senator Patrick Leahy in a letter that the government would “re-evaluate” its procedures for reviewing US “security assistance” and “has specifically included Bahrain in this reassessment.”

The State Department’s directorate of defence trade controls approved more than $34 billion (£21bn) in total exports between October 2009 and October 2010.

The total details only proposed sales, not actual shipments.

It’s a reliable indicator of private sales of everything from bullets to missile systems but doesn’t include direct weapons shipments from the US to its allies.

In this video is the poem that earned Bahraini Ayat Al Qurmuzi a year in prison after months in detention and torture.

Bahrain footballers languish in jail: here.

Bahrain medics on trial over protests. Show your support: here.

Jordan’s King Bows To Demand For Elected Cabinets: here.

Sri Lankan mission in Jordan investigates sexual abuse of female Lankan workers: here.

3 thoughts on “Bahrain keeps fighting for democracy

  1. Pingback: Ayat al-Ghormezi’s poem Khalifa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Bahraini pro-democracy poetess tortured by royal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Thugs assault feminists in occupied Iraq | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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