x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Bahrain bans rallies in bid to preserve 'civil peace'

Bahrain's interior ministry announced yesterday that it would stop all rallies and gatherings and arrest anyone participating in any demonstration, as it instituted new rules aimed at preserving 'civil peace'.

Riot police detain a man while dispersing people gathering at a march in Manama.
Riot police detain a man while dispersing people gathering at a march in Manama.

Bahrain's interior ministry announced yesterday that it would "stop all rallies and gatherings" and arrest anyone participating in any demonstration, as it instituted new rules aimed at preserving "civil peace".

In an official statement yesterday, the interior minister, Lt Gen Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, said that recent rallies by the largest Shia opposition bloc, Al Wefaq, had been "associated with violence, rioting and attacks on public and private property that affected others and hindered public and private facilities, movements and commercial and economic sectors".

"It was decided to stop all rallies and gatherings until ensuring that security is maintained through achieving the targeted security to protect national unity and social fabric to fight extremism," the statement said.

The new regulations follow the deaths of two Bahraini policemen in the last two weeks.

A 19-year-old officer died on October 19 as the result of a petrol bomb near Al Eker neighbourhood.

A week later, an officer died in hospital from wounds he sustained during clashes in April.

Al Wefaq leaders have maintained that their group's protests are peaceful and that violence ensues only when the police use force to break up their demonstrations.

edickinson@thenational.ae