Al-Wefaq, the third largest political party in Bahrain has called for international protection of Bahraini nationals after a number of protestors were killed this week whilst campaigning for reform of the political system in the state.
The island has important strategic significance in the region as a relatively liberal political landscape, connected by a causeway to Saudi Arabia. There is also a US naval base located in the kingdom and Bahrain is the venue for next month’s Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Al Wefaq is known as the Islamic National Accord Association and represents the interests of Shi’ite Muslims in the Gulf state. They said in a statement:
Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society calls on legislative entities and international parliamentary unions to intervene immediately to stop massacre of Bahraini people at the hands of security forces.
This call is made against the backdrop of massacres committed against protestors engaging in peaceful demonstrations causing the death of several innocent people. In one incident at 3 am on 17 February 2011, security forces assaulted hundreds of demonstrators engaging in a set-in at the Pearl Roundabout in the capital city of Manama. The protestors at the Pearl Roundabout were not armed. And most were sleep at the early hours of the day when the assault occurred.
The aggression resulted in the killing of several individuals and injury of many others. Concurrently, security and intelligence officers committed other another inhumane crime by restricting movement of medics and other professionals from offering medical services to the injured.
The international community is called upon to press the authorities in Bahrain to cease their assault on demonstrators. Failure to do could cause massacres of a large number of people.
Bahrain has a parliamentary system with an elected lower house and an upper house which is mainly drawn from the ruling Al Khalifa royal family. Moves have been made throughout the last decade to allow universal suffrage, votes for women and the installation of a parliamentary system, though the king still retains a significant influence.