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Bahrain to amend laws on demonstrations

Dec. 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The government of Bahrain announced Thursday it would amend laws related to public demonstrations to give security agencies more time to prepare.

Bahrain last month banned public demonstrations, citing mounting security challenges. Two foreigners were killed in a bomb attack in Manama last month and a school for boys was the recent target of what the government said was an insurgent attack.

The country's Interior Ministry said it was proposing an amendment to laws on public demonstrations. Under the new measure, five people would have to sign a notice for public demonstrations, up from the previous requirement of three. Organizers would also need to give authorities five days notice before rallies, up from the current three-day requirement.

"The measure would give concerned security agencies more time to get ready and undertake the necessary preparation," public security chief Maj. Gen. Tariq Hassan al-Hassan was quoted by the official Bahrain News Agency as saying.

Bahrain was criticized for a crackdown on protests led last year by Shiite opponents of the Sunni-led monarchy. The citizenship was stripped from some opposition leaders, though the government says it's committed to reforms recommended by an independent panel of inquiry that probed the response to last year's unrest.

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