Bahrainis protest against UK military base

People in Bahrain have once again protested against Britain’s announcement of a plan to build its first permanent military base in the Persian Gulf kingdom, Press TV reports.   

The outraged protesters on Friday burnt the British and American flags in fresh anti-regime demonstrations.

Activists believe that the move revealed Bahrainis’ wrath at the United Kingdom and its support for the ruling Al Khalifa monarchy.

Britain and the US are close allies of Bahrain’s ruling dynasty.

Britain and Bahrain signed an agreement on December 6, 2014 to expand and consolidate the UK’s long-term naval presence in the Persian Gulf region despite the Manama regime’s crackdown on public dissent.

The pact will give Britain the go-ahead to reinforce its onshore facilities at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, where the UK permanently stations four mine-hunter warships.

The base, which provides support for British destroyers and frigates in the Persian Gulf, will now be expanded to include a new forward operating base and a place to plan, store equipment for naval operations and accommodate Royal Navy personnel.

Anti-war groups have launched a petition calling on London to scrap the plan.

“Increasing criticism and protests against the British, including burning the flag, reflect growing anger against the UK government and its ambassador in Bahrain for their continuous support to the repressive ruling regime,” Nabeel Rajab, an opposition politician and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said.

“The UK has stood against the aspirations of the Bahraini people, who are struggling for democracy, equality and social justice. It is unclear if these protests will go on to harm any British strategic interests here but it is certain the anger is mounting and it may swiftly move to other countries in the region,” he added.

The Arab sheikhdom, which has been witnessing bloody anti-regime protests since 2011, also hosts the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy. The base provides protection to the Bahraini royal family and also ensures the US dominance in the oil-rich region.

Over the past four years, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

Many Bahrainis have been tortured or killed and hundreds more injured and arrested during the regime’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

However, the UK and the US have continued support for the Bahraini government and kept silence over Manama regime’s violent crackdown on the popular protests.

By Press TV


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