Anti-US protests in Bahrain

20 January 2003
Anti-US protests again erupted in Bahrain on 18 January, as an estimated 3,000 people, including members of parliament, took to the streets. They called for an end to the US military presence in the Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, and opposed use of any US bases in the kingdom for an attack on Iraq. 'This demonstration is a message of protest against the policy of the US, which seeks to exercise its domination over the world,' Ali Salman, leader of the Shia Muslim opposition group the Islamic National Accord Association, told reporters. 'We also want to express our opposition to the use of US bases in our country in a strike on Iraq.' Salman's party boycotted October's parliamentary elections. Such protests have periodically broken out in the kingdom in recent years: when the US took military action in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban, demonstrators gathered in Manama, tearing up American flags and chanting anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans, and there were protests outside the US embassy in April 2002 when the Israelis occupied Jenin in the West Bank (MEED 13:9:02).

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa has launched an official enquiry into the New Year's riots around Exhibition Avenue in Manama, as the newly formed chamber of deputies had demanded (MEED 17:1:03). More than 2,000 people were involved in the disturbances, which some have claimed were deliberately orchestrated by opposition forces (MEED 10:1:03).

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