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.