Protest ban temporary, Bahrain says

Nov. 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A decision to ban public demonstrations in Bahrain was a temporary move to "gain some perspective," the country's interior minister said.

Bahrain's Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said this week the government was banning public rallies after some people abused the privilege.

In a statement published by the official Bahrain News Agency, however, he stated that rallies would be "halted," as opposed to banned, until the security situation in Bahrain stabilized.

"The ban on the rallies is temporary," the minister said. "It is an opportunity for everyone to take a step back, calm down and gain some perspective."

BNA reports a police officer was killed in a "terror blast" a few days before celebrations marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha last week.

Amnesty International was critical of Bahrain's decision to ban public demonstrations. The organization this week, before the government's latest announced, said "scores" of protesters in the country were arrested to taking part in an "illegal gathering." Excessive force, Amnesty International said, was used to break up demonstrations.

"Officials have an obligation not to interfere unduly with the right to peaceful assembly, and the exercise of this right should be limited to a mere notification procedure," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa program deputy director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

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