Bahrain should lift ban on protests: Amnesty
DUBAI - ReutersBahrain must lift its total ban on opposition protests, which violates the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, rights group Amnesty International said yesterday.
On Oct. 30, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said the Gulf Arab kingdom had banned all rallies and gatherings to ensure public safety and prevent violence. He said the move was necessary because violence accompanying marches and gatherings had disrupted traffic, affected trade and the economy and damaged private property. London-based Amnesty said the measure nullified the rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly.
“Even in the event of sporadic or isolated violence once an assembly is under way, the authorities cannot simply declare a blanket prohibition on all protests,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, its Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
Bahrain’s leading opposition party Wefaq described the ban as an attempt to silence it.