Protesters camp at square in Bahrain capitalBy IANS
Monday, February 21, 2011
MANAMA - Defiant demonstrators continued to camp at a roundabout in the Bahrain’s capital Manama as a determined protester Monday reiterated: “All the people of Bahrain, they don’t want the government of Bahrain”.
Al-Jazeera reported that hundreds of protesters were congregated at the Pearl roundabout, which has been the focal point of the unrest that continued for the ninth day.
The 90-metre monument has gradually turned into a tent city with make-shift kitchens serving meals.
“I’m feeling happy. But all the people of Bahrain, they don’t want the government of Bahrain,” Hossain Kasar, who has been camping there for the past two nights, was quoted by the TV channel as saying Monday.
The protests in Bahrain have been inspired by the successful uprising in Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisia saw a month-long mass unrest which toppled the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali Jan 14. Barely a few days later on Jan 25, protests erupted in Egypt with tens of thousands of demonstrators seeking President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Mubarak quit Feb 11.
The mass movements in Tunisia and Egypt have had a domino effect with protests taking place in Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Iran.
Bahrain, the smallest state in the Gulf region, is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.
BBC reported that anti-government protesters have said their demands must be met before they will enter into talks with the Gulf state’s monarchy. They want the government to resign, political prisoners to be released and the deaths of protesters investigated.
At least six people have died and many injured since protests began Feb 14.
Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa told CNN Sunday that protesters would “absolutely” be allowed to stay in the Pearl roundabout area.
“All political parties in the country deserve a voice at the table,” he said of a proposed dialogue.
The government had earlier violently cracked down on demonstrators demanding an end to the monarchy.
Despite the government’s violent crackdown, the opposition and many Bahrainis insist on the peaceful nature of their movement.