August 14 Protests in Bahrain Face Crackdown
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First urges the U.S. government to condemn the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on the thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Bahrain today to participate in the Tamarod-inspired protest movement. The Bahraini government appears increasingly repressive and unable to react to criticism without resorting to extreme security measures. Today’s protests, inspired by similar ones in Egypt that resulted in the ouster of President Morsi, were organized around the August 14 anniversary of Bahrain’s Independence from Britain.
“What happened today confirmed fears that the government of Bahrain is determined to crush any form of dissent,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “Another day of protest was met with a harsh police response.”
Today’s Tamarod movement reflects increasing levels of frustration felt by many in Bahrain at the lack of any real reform to redress human rights abuses. Recommendations made in 2011 by the government-commissioned Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report remain largely unaddressed.
In recent weeks Bahrain’s authorities have arrested journalists, bloggers and others active on social media.
Bahrain’s Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, in anticipation of today’s protests, threatened to punish those who took to the streets, stating, “The government will forcefully confront the suspicious calls to violate law … and will punish (those) who stand behind them in line.”
“It’s time for the U.S. government to say publicly that it is embarrassed by its ally and the relationship cannot continue like this,” concluded Dooley.