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» 05/02/2012
BAHRAIN
Police uses violence to break up May Day demonstrations
Tear gas and stun grenades are used to stop peaceful demonstrations. Almost 600 people have lost their jobs for taking part in last year's protests. In jail for the past year, Arab spring Shia activist al-Khawaja continues his hunger strike.

Manama (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - Police used tear gas and stun grenades against hundreds of demonstrators who took to the streets of Shiite villages in Bahrain on May Day to demand their reinstatement in the jobs from which they were fired during last year's Arab spring uprising. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested. The rallies were organised by the 14 February youth movement.

According to the Bahrain Labour Union, almost 600 workers were fired from private and public sector jobs for taking part in the uprising.

Meanwhile, human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja continues his hunger strike. He was arrested almost a year ago and has been kept in isolation ever since.

According to Human Rights Watch, the authorities have not yet provided any evidence that he was involved in subverting the state or linked to terrorist groups.

Yesterday, al-Khawaja said that he would pursue his hunger strike until the government releases all the people it has arrested.

For its part, the government announced plans to put on trial 20 medics on charges of incitement to overthrow the government and trying to occupy a hospital. Rights groups said that the 20 were arrested for treating protesters wounded by security forces last year.

The majority of the people of Bahrain are Shia, but the country is ruled by a Sunni royal family, an ally of Saudi Arabia.

For more than a year, people have demanded constitutional reforms and the removal of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifah ibn Salman al-Khalifah, who has been in office since 1971.

In March 2011, the Shia opposition organised a popular revolt in the wake of the Arab spring.

In order to end the demonstrations, the government called on its Saudi ally for help. Saudi Special Forces were sent in with the power to use lethal force against demonstrators. Twenty-four people, including four police officers were killed.

Unrest began again on 18 April of this year during the Formula 1 Grand Prix. For days, thousands of demonstrators took over the streets of the capital and in predominantly Shia villages.

The authorities responded by imposing a curfew and arresting hundreds of people.


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See also
07/06/2012 BAHRAIN
An 11-year-boy on probation for participating in Arab spring
07/30/2013 BAHRAIN
Manama cracks down on popular protests
07/02/2011 BAHRAIN
Bahrain: Shiites join nascent reconciliation talks
09/27/2011 ISLAM
M.E revolts and Arab Christians: a justified prudence
by Habib Mohammed Hadi Sadr
07/30/2011 MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM
Ramadan begins, the first of the Arab Spring

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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