Bahrain: Even the locals are concerned

30/01/2012
NEWS STORY

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."

"I went out to get dinner for my family and I got stuck between protesters and police," said another local. "I saw a Molotov cocktail thrown right over my car and land next to a police jeep. I was frightened to death and have since told my family and friends not to go out when clashes are going on."

However, it isn't just the locals who are worried. A networking site for ex-Pats living in Bahrain reveals that, despite the assurances of Bernie Ecclestone and Damon Hill, all is not well.

"Well, that was some night!!!!!" writes a subscriber to the board. The responses are as follows:

Lots of tear gas around Saar but no helicopters or sirens after the huge bang?!

Teargas now in Saar village.

We heard it near Alosra. One of the huge explosions..

Yes rattled the house here too - near country mall

Don't know if it's the same big bang but we just had one in Adliya - shook the windows!

Near Bani Jamra too....huge

Yes I heard it too - massive!!!!!

The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on April 22, around nine weeks after the planned occupation of the former GCC (Pearl) Roundabout.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa chaired a meeting devoted to the security situation.

A subsequent statement expressed concern at sit-ins, rallies and demonstrations, especially those carried out by "outlaws" which resulted in the wounding of security men and damage to public and private property, adding that the "absolutely unacceptable mounting of violence should be encountered and halted".

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 30/01/2012
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.