Emeutes au Bahrein janvier 2009

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Riots erupt after arrest of Bahraini Shiites

MANAMA (AFP) — Clashes erupted in a Bahrain village on Wednesday between local security forces and demonstrators protesting at the detention of Shiite opposition activists on terrorism charges, witnesses said.

Security forces used tear gas to try to break up the demonstration in Al-Darraz, a village west of the capital Manama, during the second night of protests in Bahrain.

Hassan Mesheima, the head of the opposition group Haq (Rights), cleric Mohammed al-Moqdad and Haq spokesman Abduljalil Alsingace were arrested on Monday accused of training and funding a terrorist group and seeking to overthrow the regime, a defence lawyer said.

The public prosecutor has ordered Mesheima and Moqdad to be remanded in custody for two weeks and Alsingace to be kept under house arrest, lawyer Jalila al-Sayed said.

The Islamic Council of Ulemas, the highest Shiite authority in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state, called for the « unconditional and immediate release » of the detained campaigners.

It said the move signalled a « grave escalation which will aggravate tensions » between the Sunni and Shiite communities.

Bahrain was plagued in the 1990s by a wave of Shiite-led unrest which has abated since the authorities launched steps to convert the Gulf emirate into a constitutional monarchy.

Riots in Bahrain after 3 Shiite activists charged

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Police fired tear gas at dozens of rioters in Bahrain on Tuesday as the public prosecutor charged three Shiite Muslim activists with promoting a coup.

The island in the Persian Gulf is a close U.S. ally and hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. The country’s Shiite majority last month staged widespread protests fueled in part by economic disparities between them and the predominantly Sunni ruling elite.

Rioters hurled stones Tuesday and burned tires and trash cans, causing traffic jams outside the capital, Manama, witnesses said. Several rioters were injured, but police would not give a specific number.

The riots erupted Monday when the three activists were arrested after allegedly refusing to answer summons for questioning linked to arrests last month of 14 Bahrainis for allegedly plotting attacks in Manama.

The riots continued Tuesday after the prosecutor’s office announced that the three had been charged with promoting a coup « through terrorism, » according to a statement by the office.

The statement said they also were charged with joining an outlawed group, violating other citizens’ liberties and inciting hatred against the ruling regime. One activist was released but banned from traveling, and the two others were in custody, the statement said.

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Riots erupt in Bahrain over activist arrests

The Associated Press

January 26, 2009

MANAMA, Bahrain: Riots erupted across the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy of Bahrain on Monday following the arrest of three prominent Shiite activists.

Riot police fired tear gas at knots of youths hurling stones and burning car tires in protest over the early morning arrests.

There was no official count on the number of protesters, but the demonstrations erupted in Shiite villages across the small island kingdom, a close U.S.-ally and home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The demonstrations began in the morning soon after news filtered out over the arrest of Hasan Mushaima, head of the HAQ Movement for Liberty and Democracy; Abdul Jalil Sengace, the group’s spokesman; and Sheik Mohammed Habib al-Moqdad, a cleric who has repeatedly condemned the alleged discrimination against Bahrain‘s majority Shiites.

The protests gained steam in the late afternoon and were continuing into the night, with few parts of the island unaffected. Traffic in many places was snarled by the demonstrations and riot police could be seen everywhere.

Bahrain has seen unrest as recently as last December when the country’s Shiites staged widespread protests, fueled in part by economic disparities between the predominantly Sunni ruling elite and the country’s poorer, Shiite majority.

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~ par Alain Bertho sur 27 janvier 2009.

 
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