Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bahrainis protest against plans for unity with Saudi Arabia

Bahraini Shiite Muslim men at a protest in Bilad Al-Qadeem, a suburb of Manama, on Thursday.  (AFP)

Thousands Bahraini's took to the streets on Friday to demonstrate against a proposal to unite the kingdom with neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Slogans were "No to union. Bahrain is not for sale," and "the country is not up for auction." The protest marcgh went through several predominantly Shi'íte suburbs of Manam in response to a call by the Shi`ite opposition
Shiite spiritual figure Ayatollah Issa Qassem, speaking at a mosque in Duraz, west of Manama, demanded that any proposed union of the two countries be submitted to a referendum. The principal opposition group, Al-Wefaq, has made the same demand.
The six Gulf states which are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have been discussing a Saudi proposal that would lead toward some form of closer political union. The first step in this process would be the union of Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority, with Saudi Arabia. 
In Iran, across the Gulf, thousands of people demonstrated on Friday to protest the proposed union. Iran has called it an "American plan to annex Bahrain to Saudi Arabia." Bahrain has summoned the Iranian ambassador accusing Iran of interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain.

No comments: