Bahrain protesters call for strike to oust government

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Manama, Feb 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Protesters in Bahrain will stage more demonstrations and a nationwide strike if the government refuses to resign Thursday.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has agreed to withdraw troops from the streets of Manama and pardon political prisoners in a move to appease protesters.

Most of the protesters are Shia Muslims who are demanding more rights from the country’s ruling Sunni Muslims.

But the king refused to dismiss the government and amend the constitution, the demands which many opposition activists see as a vital pre-condition for a dialogue between the government and the opposition groups.

“We have set Thursday as deadline for the government to resign. And if it fails to resign on that day, we would expand the protest. If they ignore the call of the people, we will have to take further actions, including a nationwide strike to begin next week,” an opposition activist said.

Protesters also expect that Hassan Musheima, one of Bahrain’s most influential opposition leaders and head of the Haq Movement, will return from exile in Lebanon.

The unrest in Bahrain started Feb 14 soon after the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The unrest reached the capital Tuesday as protesters camped in the city’s Pearl Square.

On Wednesday they were joined by thousands of opposition activists released from jails.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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