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Ban on marches and rallies is temporary, Interior Minister says
10 : 00 PM - 31/10/2012
Manama-Oct31 (BNA)Marches and rallies will only be halted –rather than banned- until the security situation in Bahrain stabilizes.
"The decisions aims at preserving national unity, protecting social cohesion and avert all for forms of extremism", he said.
Receiving the ministry's military and civil well-wishers marking Eid Al-Adha, he affirmed that the freedom of expression and opinion is guaranteed for all people within the limits stipulated in the law provisions and constitution.
During the meeting, the minister took the opportunity to talk about his recent decision to temporarily ban rallies and gatherings until security and stability are restored.
The minister pointed out the terror blast days before Eid which caused the death of 19-year old police officer Omran Mohammed Ahmed.
"Citizens of any country in the world will understand the necessity of implementing security measures to control, but not close, the entrances to the village in order to conduct a thorough investigation into Omran's death," the Minister said.
He went on to describe the way in which some people in the community took the opportunity to spread rumors of a police siege on the village. "In fact," he said, "our security actions reduced pressure on the village and allowed residents more mobility than they would have had otherwise in the few days after the killing of officer Omran."
A siege means that you ban movement. In reality, the police set up checkpoints at the entrances to keep track of who was coming and going. In the process, the security force managed to make several arrests. Additional suspects are still at large. "We know who they are and they know we know who they are. In time, justice will take its course," the Minister said.

A few days after officer Omran was killed, political societies requested a rally in Eker. The Minister explained that permission was denied due to the time, place and manner of the rally as is allowed by international law. "The location was certainly provocative in that it was the location where our policeman was intentionally murdered," the Minister said. Regardless of the denial of the permission, the organizers held the event. Abuses against the head of state occurred and flags, banners and pictures that promoted sectarianism were used.
"If the organizers of the rally think that we will accept such activity, they are wrong," the minister said. In Bahraini law, insults and abuses against HM the King are treated similarly to abuses against the Kingdom itself.
The minister stated that rallies and the right to freedom of expression are subject to the law. In addition, the violence that regularly occurs after the rallies and protests are criminal acts. He explained that in international law, organizers are required to control and marshal their events to keep criminal elements from engaging in violence. Many event organizers in Bahrain have a proven track record of being unable to fulfill this responsibility.
"The ban on the rallies is temporary," said the Minister. "It is an opportunity for everyone to take a step back, calm down and gain some perspective. All Bahrainis believe that reforms are the foundation of our path forward. HM the King is committed to them and will stand firm on his policies."
The violence regularly seen in Bahrain is not freedom of expression. It is illegal, criminal behavior. Many times, the violence is aimed at creating fear in the community. "This cannot be tolerated," said the Minister. "The violence goes directly against the traditional Bahraini values of our tolerant and loving society. Regardless of what we face, we will move ahead. No one can keep us from our path to reform as our sights are set on very clear goals as outlined in the BICI Report and the UPR session in Geneva," he stated.

The Minister concluded by saying, "I know that this nation is capable of dealing with whatever problems come our way. We have our roles to play even in the face of adversity."

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