Choppers hover over Bahraini protesters

Feb. 14, 2011 at 2:42 PM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Officials used helicopters to watch Bahraini protests Monday, though demonstrators said their complaints had more to do with human rights than Bahrain's rulers.

Starting with revolutions that brought down the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, governments across the Middle East and North Africa are feeling the pressure from disenfranchised opposition groups.

Police in Bahrain clashed last weekend with Shiite opposition groups, leaving at least one protester and three officers wounded.

Small demonstrations occurred Monday on a so-called Day of Rage. Nabeel Rajab, an activist with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told al-Jazeera that protesters wanted more basic freedoms in the kingdom.

"All the demands are to do with human rights and nothing to do with the ruling family and their regime," he was quoted as saying.

He added, however, that if the regime responds to the protests with force, demonstrations could escalate.

The monarchy reportedly paid off several opposition movements to tone down rhetoric as the wave of protests spread across the Arab world, al-Jazeera adds. Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa has served as the hand-picked prime minister since 1971.

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