Mass demonstration against Bahraini, Saudi dictators

This video from Bahrain is called Amazing: Hundreds of Thousands refusing Bahraini Saudi Union.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Bahrain: Unity Plan Denounced


Published: May 19, 2012

Tens of thousands of protesters swarmed onto a major highway on Friday to criticize a proposal by Saudi Arabia for a closer union with Bahrain. Demonstrators chanted “The land is not for sale,” along with antigovernment slogans, in what activists said was the largest protest in months. The unity proposal has increased tensions in Bahrain, which is still in turmoil more than a year after the government violently suppressed a Shiite-led popular uprising, with military help from the Saudi government.

The Saudis, fearing the contagion of the revolts in Bahrain and elsewhere, and seeking to counter the influence of Iran, their regional rival, have pushed a proposal for greater unity with five other Persian Gulf monarchies. While Bahrain’s king has welcomed the proposal, opposition activists in the country, and some of the other gulf states, have balked at the idea. Leaders in the gulf this week decided to delay any decisions on the matter.

Bahrain Live Coverage: The Many 10,000s Marching: here.

From Gulf Daily News:

Friday, May 18, 2012

KUWAIT CITY: Gulf monarchies must respect human rights, freedom of expression and allow for popular participation before turning it into a union, Kuwait’s parliament speaker said yesterday.

From an Al Jazeera correspondent in London, England:

Protest over Bahrain king’s royal invite

Visit to Windsor Castle stirs controversy at a time when the Gulf state is accused of rights violations.

THE KINGS of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Swaziland were at a dinner for despots yesterday as part of the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: here.

Bahrain: One hundred organisations call to end assault on freedom of speech, and to free all detained human rights defenders and netizens: here.

13 thoughts on “Mass demonstration against Bahraini, Saudi dictators

  1. Royals entertain ‘dictator monarchs’

    Protesters demonstrate as kings of Bahrain, Swaziland party with the Queen, Charles

    By Beatrice Debut, Agence France-Presse May 19, 2012 3:06 AM

    King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalif of Bahrain, whose regime has been accused of rights abuses, was among nearly 50 royals at a lunch on Friday to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

    King Mswati III of Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarch, was also on the guest list for an event that has caused several diplomatic headaches for Britain.

    Bahrain is gripped by civil unrest following a brutal crack-down last year on pro-democracy protests, while Swazi activists accuse King Mswati of presiding over an economic meltdown while enjoying an ultra-lavish lifestyle.

    Spain’s Queen Sophia pulled out of the lunch earlier this week due to tensions with Brit-ain over the disputed territory of Gibraltar.

    About 50 people staged a pro-test against what they called “dictator monarchs” outside Buckingham Palace in London, where most of the foreign royals were attending a dinner following the lunch at Windsor Castle.

    King Hamad was not at the dinner hosted by heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife, though King Mswati and one of his 13 wives were among the guests who sat down for cheese souffle, sea bass and rhubarb Eton mess at the palace.

    “We feel it’s tremendously important to show that there are British people who do not agree with these royal dictators being invited to Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “The queen has misjudged the public mood. Most British people would not agree with our head of state wining and dining dictators who stand accused of very serious human rights abuse.”

    Demonstrators chanted and held banners reading: “Shame on you Liz Windsor,” and “Democracy now for Swaziland.”

    At the black-tie dinner inside, Charles and his wife Camilla greeted guests including King Abdullah II of Jordan and his wife Queen Rania, and Prince Albert II of Monaco with his wife Princess Charlene.

    Royals from Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were also among the guests for the two events.

    Less controversially, Japan’s 78-year-old Emperor Akihito, King Harald V of Norway and Queen Beatrix of the Nether-lands were among the 17 foreign reigning monarchs who attended.

    Queen Elizabeth, 86, and her husband Prince Philip warmly greeted their guests as they arrived and assembled for a group photo.

    Buckingham Palace has said that the Foreign Office approved the invitation to King Hamad.

    Britain has close links to Bah-rain and has had to tread care-fully in diplomatic terms since the unrest broke out.

    Prime Minister David Cameron held a meeting with King Hamad at his Downing Street residence in December when he urged him to implement reforms, and offered Britain’s support in doing so.

    Bahrain’s Crown Prince Sal-man bin Hamad al-Khalifa turned down an invitation to William and Kate’s wedding last year following a public out-cry in Britain.

    Amnesty International says around 60 people have been killed in Bahrain since the anti-regime protests first erupted in February last year.

    The visit by international royals is one of the main events in the run-up to four days of celebrations spanning June 2 to 5 to mark the queen’s 60th year on the throne.

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


  2. Britain slammed for letting Queen ‘dine with a despot’

    May 19, 2012 – 4:11am By RAPHAEL SATTER The Associated Press

    Invitees to Jubilee lunch questioned

    LONDON — Britain has come under criticism for inviting the king of Bahrain, whose Gulf state has engaged in a brutal crackdown on political dissent, to a lunch Friday celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

    The lunch in Windsor Castle was the largest gathering of foreign royals in Britain since Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, Prince William, was married to Kate Middleton last year. Then, as now, the decision to extend an invitation to members of the Bahraini royal family has angered those who are upset by the deadly violence deployed against demonstrators since protests erupted in the Gulf state.

    Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa eventually skipped the royal wedding, saying he didn’t want the controversy to tarnish the couple’s happy day. But on Friday, Buckingham Palace confirmed that his father, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, attended the queen’s lunch — along with some 45 other royal guests from around the world.

    He did not attend a more formal banquet hosted by heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening.

    Labour lawmaker and former Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane said diplomats should have tried to keep Al Khalifa away from the queen, “rather than expose her to having to dine with a despot.” Republic, the anti-monarchy group, called the lunch invitation “a catastrophic error of judgment” which “seriously damages Britain’s reputation.”

    The Foreign Office, which advised Buckingham Palace on the invitations, said that Britain’s ties to Bahrain allowed U.K. officials to talk frankly with the strategic island nation’s rulers about “a range of issues including those where we have concerns.”

    Al Khalifa wasn’t the only controversial guest dining at Windsor Castle. Swaziland’s King Mswati III, who is accused of living in luxury while his people go hungry, also attended the lunch. Earlier this week, protesters gathered outside the exclusive London hotel where he was rumoured to be staying with a large entourage.


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