Bahrain crackdown: Protests, gatherings banned amid escalating violence


A Bahraini Shiite protester is detained by riot police during an anti-government demonstration in the centre of the capital Manama on September 21, 2012.



Bahrain has banned all protests and public gatherings amid escalating violence between demonstrators and police in the Gulf kingdom.

The Interior Ministry announced that because of "repeated abuse," the rights to freedom of speech and expression could no longer be accepted, the BBC reported.

Bahrain is the scene of ongoing unrest between the ruling Sunni Muslim royal family and the mostly Shiite-led opposition.

A statement from the Interior Ministry said Bahraini society was “fed up” with demonstrations and clashes, and “there was a need to put an end to them,” the Associated Press reported.

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The AP said the Interior Ministry's order increases pressure on political groups from the country's Shiite Muslim majority, which has led protests against the minority Sunni regime.

Anti-government unrest in Bahrain began in tandem with the Arab Spring, and has continued despite efforts by the country's leaders to downplay the crisis.

Demonstrations were previously banned in Bahrain during a three-month state of emergency declared by King Hamad in March 2011.

A strategically located Gulf nation, Bahrain hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, the Guardian reported.  

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