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Security Sources Say Bahrain Opposition Planning Violence - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Anti-government protesters holding banners reading "Never Surrender" march during a demonstration organized by Bahrain's main opposition party Al Wefaq, March 15, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Anti-government protesters holding banners reading “Never Surrender” march during a demonstration organized by Bahrain’s main opposition party Al Wefaq, March 15, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat—The security situation in Bahrain is under control despite opposition groups attempting to incite youth to violence, a source within the Bahrain’s Interior Minister told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The security source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, emphasized that with National Dialogue expected to take place soon the opposition Al-Wefaq party was aiming to “make gains from the violence on the street.”

He added that the Islamist opposition party has been seeking to incite violence via social networking sites, claiming that the party has escalated its violent rhetoric in line with the approaching National Dialogue.

Al-Wefaq has denied these accusations, with leader Abdul-Jalil Khalil asserting: “The [Bahraini] opposition’s agenda has been clear since February 14, 2011 and it is a peaceful one.”

Government spokesmen also accused Al-Wefaq of not taking the National Dialogue process seriously, and claimed it and other opposition parties were planning to escalate levels of violence on the streets to disrupt the next session of the process, scheduled for Sunday.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat’s source, several acts of violence took place on Thursday in many villages and this included an assault on nine schools. The Bahraini Security Forces then closed off the schools with barriers and government forces later intervened to reopen the schools and ensure the safety of the students.

“Members of the security forces were injured as a result of the confrontations,” the source adds; “they were attacked by Molotov bombs (locally produced) and iron bars on behalf of the participants of the uncalled-for riots.” Many members of the security forces were checked into hospitals with mild injuries.

In turn, Abdul-Jalil Khalil responded to these riots by claiming that there still elements in Bahrain that believed a coercive, security-based approach was the only means by which to solve the dispute between the government and the protesters.

Khalil added that Al-Wefaq is opposed to this and desires progress to be made through dialogue. He also called for a political solution via the release of political detainees and eliminating daily trials.

According to Khalil, these are the same measures called for by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), also known as the Bassiouni Commission, and stated that “the opposition groups joined the national dialogue and their goal is to help it succeed.”

Another member of Al-Wefaq stressed that the opposition notified the security forces of its activities, and added that civil disobedience will continue as long as the security forces maintain their grip and there is a lack of a concrete political solution.

This statement was made after Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning on its website urging Saudi citizens residing in Bahrain to stay away from suspicious gatherings and to adhere to laws and regulations enforced by the Bahraini authorities. The ministry also advised its citizens to seek help from the Saudi Embassy in Manama, should the need arise.