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Interior Minister/Statement
01 : 37 AM - 29/01/2012
Manama, Jan. 28. (BNA) – Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa announced on Saturday that rioting over the past few days has witnessed an escalation in violence and the targeting of on-duty policemen. Police have been attacked with sharp objects and Molotov cocktails by the rioters. As a result, numerous arrests have been made.
Shaikh Rashid affirmed that the duty of a policeman is to protect lives, secure the community and act according to the law.

"No one thinks that he/she is above the law. The work to protect the general order continues; hence the targeting of policemen could, I think, be penalized with a punishment of imprisonment of up to 15 years. Such a penalty should cover both inciters and implementers," he said, expressing hope that the legislative authority would urgently look into this issue, as the safety of policemen and their families is of paramount importance in a modern society.

In regards to providing field protection for policemen, the Minister said that security officers are being mentally and physically rehabilitated through an unprecedented one-year training program covering various security situations and assigned duties.

In this context, he explained that policemen are provided with fire-resistant outfits, helmets to protect the head, face and neck, and other tools to protect the chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs and feet. Policemen are also provided with shields and sticks that meet international standards. Lastly, they are given gas and sound bombs as well as guns that fire rubber bullets. These weapons all comply with the regulations and rules in the Public Security Forces law. The police force also has vehicles that are equipped with all the general safety measures as well as modern communication technology. The Minister stated that the modernization of equipment continues to assist policemen in performing their duties.

The Interior Minister called upon all people of Bahrain to protect the domestic peace. He advised everyone not to be dragged down by rumors or to try to dramatize the news. He affirmed that the Ministry is committed to providing the correct and timely information through the Police Media Center website www.policemc.gov.bh and the Ministry's twitter account @MOI_Bahrain, to build trust, fight accusations and misleading information that spread chaos and uncertainty.

He also spoke about the recent rioting in residential areas, considering that as a threat to civil peace. He called upon the people to end the issue and move forward and be more united.

He said that maintaining security is the responsibility of the public security force, while at the same time, warning of attacks against private and commercial property. He said that those arrested for their involvement in such acts will face legal procedures.

The Interior Minister added that the freedom of expression is protected according to the law, as long as they do not undermine the freedom of others or harm their interests, stressing that protests and gatherings should not promote prejudice or deepen conflicts.

He said that in order to ensure freedom of expression, it is appropriate to allocate certain places away from vital roads where protests may occur, as Bahrain is a small country, and traffic jams and road blockages must be avoided.

The Minister expressed his thanks to all sincere people who voiced their support for and praise of the security officers and the high quality job they are performing on a daily basis, which, he said, emanates from their appreciation of the security role they are currently playing.

The Minister concluded his statement by highlighting that there is sectarian incitement in Bahrain, as well as voices calling for moderation.

“Which of the two stances do the Bahraini citizens want to succeed by the end? Do we need more sufferings and pain or should we stop and continue the nation-building march?” he inquired, stressing that “we need a sincere resolve to reach consensus on the need to achieve stability, as part of our national responsibility and commitment to peaceful co-existence, which is the duty of all those who are keen to develop this country and ensure it a better future.”

Shaikh Rashid also said that chaos and insecurity are among the most dangerous factors that have negative impacts on people’s interests and psychological stability.

“It is our duty to take advantage of the unprecedented national resistance of the leadership and people for the sake of averting a catastrophe that could have been destructive to everything,” he said, calling for the need to enhance cohesion and national accord.

“The crisis cannot divide us. It has to motivate us to come together again and join efforts in order to build a thriving nation for us and for the coming generations, within the prosperous era of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,” he concluded.

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