When the latest martyr, Hajj Abd Ali Abdulla Mohammad Al Ma’amiri, was being buried yesterday, the participants in the funeral were mercilessly attacked by police. The attackers used chemical and tear gases, rubber bullets and batons to disperse the people who were doing their religious and human duty of burying a dead man.
The martyr had been exposed to the lethal gases two weeks earlier, kept at the hospital for treatment but passed away two days ago. He is the 18th Bahraini to die as a result of chemical gases. Earlier in the week another martyr, Zahra Al Hawwaj, 69, was martyred on Wednesday 1st February as a result of excessive chemical gases used against Bahrainis. She had inhaled the gases on 13th January, while Hajj Abd Ali had inhaled them on 17th January.
The leaders of the people who are languishing behind bars have staged a hunger strike in protest at the mistreatment that they are facing and their continued detention for expressing their opinion. Other prisoners joined in the strike but were attacked and abused by the prison torturers. Some of them have been transferred to solitary confinement as a punishment. Abdul Hadi Al Khalwaja, a life-long international human rights activist was transferred to hospital after his condition deteriorated as a result of the strike. He had several operations in the past twelve months to repair his broken jaw and other injuries. Another victim, Hussain Nader Al Mazj was transferred to hospital after his condition deteriorated yesterday.
The protests continued on daily and nightly basis in almost every town and village of the country with, attended by men and women among the youth. The slogans have now become familiar with calls for regime change and the downfall of the dictator. Last night a particular protest was held in the capital, Manama led by Nabil Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. He was joined by several other activists who marched from several points to converge on the centre of Manama. The Al Khalifa forces, led by John Timoney, launched merciless attacks on them using all means at the their disposal. The right of freedom of expression has been completely eradicated by the Al Khalifa dictatorship and the Al Saud occupiers. The regime has been emboldened by the US support of its crackdown against peaceful demonstrators. Despite the much-hailed Bissiouni report none of its 33 recommendations have been implemented. The American support has been condemned by Bahrainis as complicity in the war against the people, their rights and the principles of justice and human rights.
On 1st February the Turkish newspaper, The Daily News, published an article titled: Washington firm in arms sale to Bahrain”. The article said: The United States continues selling some military equipment to Bahrain despite controversies that the weapons were used against the protestors, as it walks a fine line between pushing the Sunni monarchy to open talks with the opposition while proceeding cautiously with a strategic ally to counter Iran.” It further added: “The sale of an undisclosed amount of spare parts and equipment has drawn opposition from some in Congress who argue that it sends the wrong signal about the U.S. commitment to human rights. The State Department said late Jan. 27 that the equipment is for Bahrain’s external defense and support for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based in the country. “
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has denounced the ongoing failure to reinstate workers. The ITUC acknowledged progress in the public sector but expressed its serious concerns regarding the failure of employers, largely in state-owned companies, to reinstate many wrongfully dismissed workers or to rehire the workers only under completely unacceptable conditions. The very few trade union leaders reinstated had to agree not to carry out any further union activity.
In addition, the ITUC points out that many trade unionists continue to face criminal prosecution for participating in strikes and demonstrations last year.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
3rd February 2012