Bahrain bombings ‘a side effect of crackdown on peaceful protest’
Two migrant workers were killed and a third seriously injured in five explosions in two areas of Bahrain’s capital Manama today.
The bombings came less than a week after the Sunni monarchy banned all public protests in a move that observers feared would play into the hands of more militant opposition factions.
“As always, we condemn violence,” said Maryam al-Khawaja (right), acting head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, “but, given the Bahraini authorities’ background in spreading disinformation, we call for an independent investigation into the deaths of the two migrant workers.”
Matar Matar of the opposition Shiite party Wefaq said he doubted that opposition activists were behind Monday’s attacks….
“This incident is strange – why would anyone target workers?” he said. “I’m worried that police and military are losing control of their units or it is [preparation] before declaring martial law.”
Leading Shiite clerics had called on followers to avoid escalating the conflict with the government. He suggested the police or military might have been responsible, or a rogue unit.
The explosions are “definitely a side effect of cracking down on peaceful protest,” said Claire Beaugrand, Gulf senior analyst for the International Crisis Group. “The radicals will probably say that Wefaq has lost its credibility … The grassroots have become more and more disillusioned, more desperate, and more willing to tacitly or silently support alternative action.”
Bahrain is under pressure to implement the recommendations of a report by a team of international lawyers and human-rights experts that accused the government of widespread torture and violence against protesters during the unrest last spring.