SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Just less than one week when the last visit of Michael H. Posner( Assistant Secretary BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR) and UK Alistair Burt(Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)came to Bahrain and gave the approval to Bahraini riot police backed with occupier Saudi troops fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets Friday, injuring the head of the Shiite majority’s main political bloc while trying to break up protests in the country’s capital, the opposition said AP reporter Said . Al Wefaq’s secretary-general Sheik Ali Salman told The Associated Press he was hit in the shoulder and back by either a tear gas canister or stun grenade during demonstrations in Manama, which are common following Friday prayers. He had red welts on his skin but seemed otherwise in good health. Al Wefaq had earlier said that rubber bullets had caused the injury.
He said he was leading about 40 protesters on the way to a march when they encountered police who ordered them to disperse and then started firing into the crowd. Hassan al-Marzooq, another opposition leader, was hit in the neck by a rubber bullet, an Al Wefaq statement said. He has since been taken to a private hospital in the capital for treatment. Salman said the leaders had been intentionally targeted, the first time that the Bahrain security forces had done so.
“More violations will complicate our efforts for reconciliation and a meaningful dialogue,” he said. “We continue our democratic demands and call for universal human rights principles through peaceful assemblies. It is the people’s right.”
Bahrain has experienced near daily protests for 16 months caused by an uprising by the kingdom’s Shiite majority seeking greater political rights from the Western-backed Sunni monarchy.
The country’s rulers have crucial support from neighboring Saudi Arabia, but are under pressure from their U.S. allies to reopen dialogue with Shiite opposition factions. A new government initiative for talks is expected to be announced soon. But main Shiite groups have already signaled that negotiations are futile unless the ruling dynasty agrees to give up its near total control of government affairs in the strategic island, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Opposition groups had requested a permit to hold Friday’s protest but said they were denied one by authorities. They attempted to march anyway to the site of a historic Shiite mosque, sparking several hours of clashes with riot police. Along with the protest leaders, Al Wefaq said scores were injured from inhaling tear gas during several hours of clashes. Security forces closed roads leading to the protest site and protesters responded by lighting fires along the roadside.
where as AFP reporter wrote : Bahraini security forces on Friday fired rubber bullets to disperse an unauthorised rally by the opposition Al-Wefaq wounding its leader, the Shiite bloc said. Sheikh Ali Salman was "wounded with rubber bullets in his shoulder and back when security forces fired at a peaceful demonstration held in Bilad al-Qadeem," three kilometres (two miles) from Manama, it said in a statement.
It said two other leading opposition figures -- Al-Wefaq's Jawad Fairouz and Hasan al-Marzouq -- were also wounded.
"Security forces besieged the area, chased citizens and repressed them brutally, beating them up and firing live rounds at them," it added.
Witnesses told AFP that security forces used tear gas, sound bombs, rubber bullets and birdshot to disperse the rally, adding that several people were wounded in the crackdown.
The interior ministry had announced late Thursday it had "turned down a request submitted by Al-Wefaq... to stage a rally" in the area, state news agency BNA reported.
"Holding the rally in such a vital location would disrupt security and compromise people?s interests," BNA quoted public security chief Major-General Tariq al-Hassan as saying.
Those participating in Friday's "illegal rally would be held accountable."
Sporadic and small protests have intensified in villages around the capital since a crackdown in March 2011 ended month-long Shiite-led protests in Manama's main Pearl Square.
Amnesty says 60 people have been killed since the protests erupted in February 2011 in the Gulf kingdom ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.
Picture Source : Reuters , AP , Alwefaq