Bahrain brings in Gulf forces, landmark razed

Posted By: Biswajeet Panda
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Manama, Capital of Bahrain
Manama, Mar 19: Bahrain is leaving no stone unturned to crush the revolts against the royal family. The foreign minister of the kingdom has informed on Mar 18 that more Gulf troops will arrive to restore law and order which has been jeopardised after several weeks of Egypt-inspired protests.

The foreign minister has said that Bahrain is committed to talks with the opposition but security still remains the topmost priority. He informed that a few Gulf states have sent in their troops to maintain law and order and they will stay for as long as it takes normalcy to return to the country.

He said, "We look with all confidence to the return of normal life in Bahrain...We know dialogue is our path."

About the role assigned to the Gulf troops, he said that they are only meant to guard strategic assets and at no point will be asked to quell the protests.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom has been hit by violent protests inspired by the successful revolts in Egypt that toppled the three-decade old Hosni Mubarak regime. Shi'ites have led the protests against the royal family alleging that their interests have been perpetually neglected by the king and his cabinet and thus wanted a regime change.

More than 60 percent of Bahrain's population is comprised of Shi'ites.

On Mar 18, the Bahraini army razed down Bahrain's most recognisable landmark, to erase all traces of the revolt. The statue that had six sails, each standing for the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), holding a pearl-a symbol of the pearl fishing heritage that was the economic mainstay of the region before the discovery of oil, has now been reduced to a heap of rubble.

Shi'ite clerics have still urged people to throng to the streets and ensure that their demands are met.

Sheikh Issa Qassim, Bahrain's most influential Shi'ite cleric called on all protesters on Mar 18 to keep with the protests and said, "The government wants to break our will so we give up our calls for substantial and meaningful reforms, but they will never break our will. They can use tanks and planes to smash our bodies but will never break our souls and our will for reforms."

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