Saudis protest kingdom’s intervention in Bahrain

April 10, 2011 - 0:0

MANAMA (Agencies) — The Saudis on Saturday and Friday protested against kingdom’s blatant military intervention in Bahrain.

In Saudi Arabia, hundreds of people demonstrated on Saturday to denounce the presence of Saudi forces in Bahrain, where they help the Al Khalifa monarchy to crack down on anti-government protesters, Press TV reported.
Videos emerging from Saudi Arabia show protest rallies held in Qatif and Awamya cities in Eastern province for the second consecutive day on Saturday.
Protesters condemn the use of 1,000 Saudi forces to suppress the popular uprising in Bahrain, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Saudi troops from the country. They also demand the promotion of human rights, freedom of expression and constitutional reforms.
According to Reuters, hundreds of Shia Muslims protested in the kingdom’s oil-producing east seeking the withdrawal of Saudi troops from the neighboring country and political rights and freedoms at home, demonstrators said.
The protests were held in the main Shia Muslim center of Qatif, where demonstrators, some of them women, waved Bahraini as well as Saudi flags. Others gathered in the nearby village of Awamiya.
Banners read “respect the rights to demonstrate” and “freedom of expression and opinion.”
Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 troops to Bahrain to help curb pro-democracy protests.
Bahrain police detain, beat rights activist
Authorities in Bahrain on Saturday detained and beat a prominent human rights activist in part of widespread crackdown on the opposition.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who formerly worked for international human rights organizations, was detained on Saturday in a pre-dawn raid, The Associated Press reported.
Al-Khawaja's daughter, Zainab, confirmed the arrest and said her father was taken from her house in a Shia village outside the capital, Manama.
She told the AP that armed and masked men, some wearing black police uniforms and carrying riot gear, stormed her house around 2 a.m. on Saturday. They beat her father unconscious before leading him into custody along with her husband and her brother-in-law, she added.
“They were not just slapping him around, they were beating him badly like they wanted to hurt him,” Zainab al-Khawaja said on the phone. She said one agent was holding her father by the neck and at least four were beating him severely and kicking him as they were dragging him down a flight of stairs.
“They kept saying to him 'We will kill you' and I begged them to not beat him because he is willing to go with them peacefully,” the activist's daughter said. “I heard my father gasping for air, saying he cannot breathe, but they just kept hitting him until he passed out.”
Al-Khawaja, 50, is a former Middle East and North Africa director of Frontline Defenders rights organization. He also documented human rights abuses in Bahrain for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. His daughter said he stopped working for international organizations last year because of harassment by the authorities.
Al-Khawaja's son-in-law, Mohammed al-Maskati, who also is an activist, was in the house during Saturday's raid. He said armed men in black uniforms bound him with plastic handcuffs and forced him to lie on the ground face-down while agents beat him. One man kept a foot on his neck, he said.
“They kept saying, 'What's your name, donkey?' and hit me in the head,” al-Maskati told the AP. “They cuffed me so tightly that they could not untie me and left deep wounds in hands,” he said, adding that he was too afraid to seek medical treatment for his injuries.
“The hospitals are under control of the military,” said al-Maskati, who heads the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights organization.
On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders said Bahraini authorities turned hospitals into “places to be feared” during a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters demanding greater political freedoms and equal rights for Shiites.
The medical charity condemned the arrest of injured opposition supporters being treated at medical facilities and said Bahrain's security forces used hospitals and health centers as “bait to identify and arrest those (protesters) who dare seek treatment.”
The state-run Salmaniya medical complex was at the center of the country's turmoil, treating hundreds of injured demonstrators. The military took control of the facility, and doctors and patients there said soldiers and policemen interrogated and detained them