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Bahrain: Even the locals are concerned

NEWS STORY
30/01/2012

The Gulf Daily News, a pro government publication in Bahrain, admits that the situation in the Gulf state is worrying, with locals making contingency plans to leave the country amidst increasing street violence.

According to the GDN, some locals "have already purchased property abroad, transferred money out of the country and have their plane tickets and passports ready for a fast exit".

The unease, it reports, follows the launch of the Bahrain Fist Operation which is calling for "increased measures to forcibly remove riot police from villages".

A number of people are quoted in the article amidst fears that the increasing street violence will come to a head on February 14, the anniversary of the 2010 uprising, which is expected to culminate in a "full-blown occupation of the former GCC (Pearl) Roundabout".

"I have booked my tickets and have my passport with me, just in case I need to go quickly, because February 14 is coming up and we don't know what will happen," one local told the GDN. "I know people who bought houses in Saudi Arabia and Dubai and a lot of big families have transferred money.

"Some of my cousins work in the Bahrain Defence Force," the local continued, "and everyday they leave their houses and say goodbye to their mothers and children because they don't know if they will come back. The government is not taking strong action. They should stop people like (Al Wefaq National Islamic Society secretary-general) Ali Salman.

"The only solution to all these problems is for Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar to join together like the UAE and then as one force they can protect the whole Gulf from those behind these problems, which are Iran and Iraq."

"The plan is not to emigrate but just to leave while problems are resolved," said another local. "My mother has all the documents ready in a folder which literally says 'Plan B' and includes selling some of our property to survive in another country. I don't think she will ever take the step because no matter what Bahrain is our home and we could never live elsewhere. But I think to her it's just a way of immediately saving her family if things become worse."

The GDN reports that many locals remain indoors at night, fearful of becoming involved in the various confrontations.

"I went to visit my grandmother last week and a few minutes after I entered the village there was a demonstration on the road," a local woman told the newspaper. "I then heard gunshots and saw tear gas being fired. I saw some children moving big metal drums and garbage bins to block the road and teenagers throwing water coolers in a fire on the road. I was so shocked and scared because the gunshot didn't stop, I only managed to get out when it was evening prayer time. Since then I haven't gone out after 6pm because it seems there are problems everywhere now."

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