Security Forces Ban Seminar on Political Naturalization

On 16 May 2009, the security forces prohibited the Muharaq branch of ‘Waad’ Society from holding a seminar entitled ‘Combating Political Naturalization’ planned for by a coalition of six political societies. Official sources said that the reason for the ban was that the organizers had failed to inform the authorities and failed to obtain permission. The authorities had then contacted the Society two days before the scheduled date for the seminar, asking them to obtain permission but they refused. The justification for the ban was also that the number of participants exceeded the capacity of the Society’s headquarters, with the possibility of overflowing to the surrounding streets which necessitated informing the security services. However, Waad refused the Government’s demand, found it legally unjustifiable and regarded it as a restriction on public freedoms. The six societies issued a statement condemning the Government and regarding the ban as an assault on freedom of expression. They announced that they will continue with their activities in confronting what they called ‘political naturalization’.