Bahrain and the Arab Spring - Socialist Worker, 050212.

Bahrain and the Arab Spring

The small island nation of Bahrain sits in the Persian Gulf, between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. When the Tunisian and Egyptian uprising toppled U.S.-backed dictators last year, all of the region's dictatorships trembled, including Bahrain. The winds of change inspired Bahrain's downtrodden, and the country's monarchy barely managed to maintain its grip on power.

Here we carry an interview with Ahmed Mohammed, a Bahraini activist on the situation in his country.

CAN YOU talk about how the movement in Bahrain unfolded last February? Why did thousands of people come out to Pearl Square in Bahrain's capital of Manama?

THE PROTESTS had originally aimed to make the government fulfill the promises of the king. These promises were made in a referendum the king put to the people in 2001. The referendum offered us a bargain--turn Bahrain into a kingdom and the emir into a king, and in return, the dreaded state of emergency law would be ended, and a parliament with full legislative powers set up. He basically offered what the opposition had been demanding throughout the uprising of the 1990s. The referendum was widely welcomed and approved.

Then the king reneged on his promise. On February 14, 2002, the king announced a new constitution in which he concentrated power in his own hands. The parliament has virtually no legislative powers.

PLEASE support Bahrani teacher jailed & tortured for pro-democracy demonstration

This is one of LabourStart's online campaigns.  You can help save the life of a jailed trade union leader in Bahrain.

Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahraini Teachers Association, must be freed from jail.  Now.

His name is Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb. He's the president of the Bahraini Teachers Association.
And he's in jail because of his trade union activities.

Mahdi's health is rapidly deteriorating and the global union federation for teachers, the Education International, has called for a massive online
campaign of protest.
It will take you just a minute or so to send off your message -- and it might well save Mahdi's life.

[3]Please click here to learn more and to send off your message.

And then -- please forward this message on to your friends, co-workers and fellow trade unionists.

Thanks very much.

Eric Lee_Copyright © 2012 LabourStart, All rights reserved.

Bahrain police clash with mourners Shooting tear gas and stun grenades, security forces clash with opposition protesters outside

Bahrain police clash with mourners
Shooting tear gas and stun grenades, security forces clash with opposition protesters outside of Manama.

Last Modified: 01 Jan 2012 19:27

Silhouettes of family members of Sayed Hashem Saeed are seen as they perform prayers during the funeral [Reuters]
Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades as they clashed with hundreds of opposition supporters following the politically charged funeral of a 15-year-old boy.

Thousands of opposition supporters carrying Bahraini flags and chanting anti-government slogans converged on Sunday on the island of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, to mourn the death of Sayed Hashim Saeed.

Police earlier tried to seal off the site of the funeral to prevent crowds from gathering.

The opposition says the teenager died on Saturday after a tear gas canister fired at close range hit him in the chest.

Jaffer al-Sheik, 40, who identified himself as a relative of Saeed, said after the funeral that the boy died while participating in a protest march.

He said the canister fired by riot police caused burns on Saeed's chest, arm and head.

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