A Protest in Manama Demanding the Release of Opposition Prisoners
Authorities in Manama granted permission for a protest which
took place on 20 February 2009, in response to the calls of four
political opposition societies to demand the release of prisoners
accused by the security forces of criminal offences, and which they
claim were politically motivated. The number of protestors was estimated
between 1000-2000 individuals. Among the prominent figures in custody
is the chairman of Haq movement Hassan al Mushame and Shaikh Habeeb
Al Moqdad. The demonstrators gathered close to Al- Dana shopping
centre west of Manama and shouted slogans demanding the immediate
release of the accused.
On the other hand, the senior organizers of the protest demanded
in their speeches that the government begin a national dialogue
to address unresolved issues and for it to end the cases of those
detained on political and security grounds. On 17 December 2008,
the authorities had announced the arrest of alleged criminals plotting
to perpetrate terrorist activities during National Day celebrations,
and affirmed that they had received training in Hujjara, Syria.
The Chief of the Metropolitan Police also announced that after
the allocated time for the protest had elapsed, a group of protestors
re-gathered and caused havoc and rioting by burning tyres and rubbish
bins which necessitated the interference of the security forces.