The Bahraini opposition is planning to hold a major protest rally on August 14, the day of Bahrain’s independence from the United Kingdom.A prominent Bahraini human rights activist says the Al Khalifa regime is stepping up its crackdown on protesters, a week ahead of a major opposition rally. Maryam al-Khawaja says regime forces storm the houses of activists and arrest them on a daily basis. She also says the Saudi-backed regime continues to torture activists in jail. The regime has already banned protests in the capital, Manama, ahead of the August 14 celebrations of Bahrain’s independence from the United Kingdom.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued a new decree on August 6, which modified the law on public gatherings to “ban organizing protests, rallies, gatherings or sit-ins in Manama, with the exception of sit-ins outside (the offices of) international organizations” held with written police authorization.The opposition is planning to hold a major protest rally on August 14. The Manama regime has warned that any protests would face the “force of the law.” Two weeks ago, Bahrain’s loyalist-dominated parliament approved a bill giving new powers to authorities to address what they called an upsurge in violence in the country, which in reality aims to quell anti-regime protests. The new ‘anti-terror’ law gives the regime the power to revoke the citizenship of anyone recognized as guilty of committing or inciting an ‘act of terrorism.’ Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests. Scores have been killed, many under torture while in custody, and thousands more detained since the popular uprising began in the country. DB/NN/HSN