Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bahrain steps up crackdown

Anti-government protesters flee after riot police fire rounds of tear gas to disperse them in the village of Diraz, west of Manama

Source: Press TV

Bahrain is expanding the crackdown on the opposition as security forces open fire on anti-government protesters in the capital Manama and several other towns nearby.

On Wednesday, Bahraini troops, backed by Saudi forces, attacked protesters in Diraz, Sanabis, Nuwaidrat and Belad al-Qadeem, UPI quoted witnesses as saying.

Security forces have also managed to disperse the protesters in Manama.

Witnesses say a 15-year-old boy was killed in the village of Saar.

Bahrain's main opposition bloc, the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said on Tuesday that 250 people have been detained and 44 others gone missing since martial-type laws were introduced two weeks ago to contain the anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf state.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that government forces are targeting patients shot with rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition during anti-government protests and are denying them crucial medical care.

“There is absolutely no justification for arresting someone solely because the person might have been wounded in a protest-related incident,” said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at HRW, in a statement.

“It is against every tenet of humanity to deprive patients of critical and sometimes life-saving medical treatment, causing them grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm,” he said.

The organization also said that security forces took over Salmaniya Medical Complex on March 16 and have ever since used it to identify and arrest anti-government protesters.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the seizure of the medical complex as “shocking and illegal conduct” and added that she was deeply alarmed by the escalation of violence in the country.

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