Bahrain bans protests

Oct. 30, 2012 at 9:44 AM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The interior minister in Bahrain announced that public demonstrations are banned because organizers had abused their right to the freedom of expression.

Bahrain's Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said the government was committed to upholding basic civil liberties but rallies were banned because that privilege has been abused, the official Bahrain News Agency reports.

He said the government was frustrated with opposition support for what he said was the ouster of key leaders, which was seen as a threat to national sovereignty.

"The Interior Ministry has strived to tackle those violations through coordination with the organizers in many occasions but they failed to control those events despite their promises," the minister said.

Rallies were said to be organized by the opposition al-Wefaq movement. Human Rights Watch in June said riot police in Bahrain fired flash grenades and tear gas at a rally in support of the opposition party.

Bahrain was criticized for its heavy hand in responding to anti-government protests. The government has said it was committed to an agenda of reform, however.

At least 50 people were killed during last year's uprising.

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