Friday, 27th September, was a normal weekend in Bahrain. An approved rally in Budaiya meant, courtesy of AlWefaq, thousands of residents in and around the area would be hostages in their own homes. Many waited patiently for the usual show of “solidarity” to dissolve into the predictable chaos, violence and general anarchy that people in Budaiya have become accustomed to.
Sadly, this has become a regular occurrence in the Northern Governorate and although thousands of voices continue to condemn AlWefaq and their disturbing rallies, it seems they have the “right” to protest and chant obscene slogans at the very government that allows them this freedom whilst the “basic freedom of movement” is not a privilege for non-supporters of fanatical opposition groups or political societies.
On Friday, the Alwefaq “events department” was out early and by 10:30 a.m., they had placed branded loud speakers along the entire central embankment of Budaiya Road and were busy constructing scaffolding close to Saar Roundabout. There were generators placed at intervals on the embankment and it was evident that Ali Salman was expecting a “gigantic” turnout for this rally. Approximately 10,000 men and women turned out with very young children in tow, as if enjoying a family fun day out. Why any parent would expose a child to mobs that wear fearful masks and chant inappropriate slogans is beyond most people’s comprehension.
A rally is one thing but blocking off entire communities is another. Why are AlWefaq given the freedom to control this area at their will? Do they have municipality approval to build large dangerous structures, use generators that run on diesel fuel and place loudspeakers along an entire highway and a roundabout? Does approval include blocking the entire dual carriageway? Surely this is dangerous. Why can one lane on each side not be left clear?
In most parts of the world, a rally or protest is limited to a pre-approved route map and none of the roads may be blocked in case of emergency and to ensure free flowing traffic. Why is it different for AlWefaq in Bahrain?
The world’s media encouraged yet another violent protest and condemned the Bahrain government (that had permitted this rally like all the others). As usual, police were bombarded with rocks, Molotov cocktails and attacked by a variety of homemade weapons. Over the weekend, three policemen were seriously injured, but it seems this is of no consequence to the world media.
Meanwhile, the AlWefaq “media department” was busy pushing out inaccurate information and tampered images to the globe. There was no strong statement of condemnation from the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The video MOI released on YouTube had a title in Arabic and explained absolutely nothing – leaving it to the imagination of Bahrain’s international enemies who are capable of manipulating anything against the country. Rumours claim the American Ambassador was mysteriously caught up in the rally and had to walk a short distance because of “police blocks”.
All protestors who attack police and destroy public property should be penalized and prosecuted. The organizers must be questioned and severely reprimanded and banned from organising events. These violent rallies are a standard occurrence since 2011. However, approval still appears to be provided at the risk of other residents in the area and the policemen who continue to lose their lives or livelihoods. While most law abiding citizens wear their seatbelts so as not to get fined, these rallies show a total disregard for the law of the land.
In August 2013, an emergency National Assembly meeting was approved by the King, leaving it to Parliament members to move forward with new laws for security in Bahrain. Many believed that these new laws to protect and instill security would be put into place swiftly. What are they waiting for? The Prime Minister has taken the time to proactively meet, thank and reassure security officials, community leaders, communities and business people. Isn’t it time everyone stood with the King and PM to take responsibility for Bahrain and her future?