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Anti-Regime Rally Held in Bahrain, Talks Fail to Appease Opposition

July 31, 2011

Anti-regime rally held in N Bahrain

Press TV, Sunday, July 31, 2011 6:48AM GMT

 Anti-government protesters have held another rally in northern Bahrain, despite the regime's continuing crackdown on demonstrations.

The demonstrators in the northern village of Dair called on the ruling al-Khalifa regime to free all those Bahrainis detained during months of protests.

The protesters also rejected the results of the regime-backed “National Consensus Dialog” in Bahrain.

Facing countrywide anti-regime revolution, Manama launched the talks on July 2 with the alleged aim of introducing reforms in the governing system of the Persian Gulf sheikdom.

The largest Bahraini opposition group, al-Wefaq, quit the national talks in protest, saying the views and the demands of the opposition were ignored and the talks were dominated by pro-government representatives.

Al-Wefaq said that the opposition has been given too small a fraction of the seats -- 35 out of 300 -- at the talks.

Also on Friday, tens of thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets outside the capital city of Manama to condemn the results of the national dialogue, saying it had failed to address the people's demands and to bring real democratic reforms in the Middle Eastern country.

In February, massive protests broke out in Bahrain, with people taking to the streets and calling for a constitutional monarchy -- a demand that later turned into calls for the regime's downfall.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed military forces to Bahrain in mid-March to assist the Bahraini government in its brutal crackdown on the popular protests.

Bahrainis have nevertheless pledged to keep up their protests until their demands are met.


Bahrain talks fail to appease opposition

Press TV, Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:40PM GMT

A Bahraini woman flashes the victory sign during an anti-government rally in the Bahraini capital, Manama, Friday, July 22, 2011. Bahrain's so-called national dialog has failed to appease the country's opposition amid rising concerns over the government's determination to carve out a balanced solution out of the current crisis in the Persian Gulf sheikdom.

The Bahraini opposition voiced frustration at the “National Consensus Dialog” with the government after the country's largest opposition party, al-Wefaq, left the negotiations, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Critics say al-Wefaq's departure has almost drained the talks of their intended weight.

Facing countrywide anti-regime revolution, Manama launched the talks on July 2 with the alleged aim of introducing reforms in governing system of the Persian Gulf sheikdom.

Bahrain's largest party and opposition group al-Wefaq quit the negotiations, complaining that since their onset, the government had been trying to muffle the voice of the opposition.

Al-Wefaq regretted that the opposition has been given too small a fraction of the seats -- 35 out of 300 -- at the talks.

The reform package forwarded by the Manama government has also been attacked for failing to curb the powers of the upper house -- in which ministers are directly appointed by the country's king. It is also blamed for stopping short of giving greater legislative and monitoring powers to the opposition.

Bahrain's National Dialog Committee said the parties at the talks “did not agree on whether the Shura Council (the upper house) should be granted the same powers as the parliament, and whether the responsibility for lawmaking and oversight should be restricted to the elected chamber.”

It also said that “delegates did not reach consensus on a number of further suggestions, such as limiting the term for ministers and head of government or a fixed quota for women in parliament.”

Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have been holding peaceful anti-government rallies throughout the country since February, demanding an end to rule of the al-Khalifa family.

Scores of people have been killed and many more arrested and tortured in prisons in a government-sanctioned crackdowns on the peaceful protesters since the beginning of the demonstrations.

The Bahraini government is, meanwhile, being constantly backed by the United States despite its record of human rights abuse and the numerous complaints lodged against it at The Hague.


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