Shia MPs walk out as two killed in Bahrain demos | Pakistan Today

Shia MPs walk out as two killed in Bahrain demos

MANAMA – Two protesters died in clashes with Bahraini police, sparking angry calls from young cyber-activists for regime change and a walkout on Tuesday of Bahrain’s main Shia opposition bloc in parliament. The Islamic National Accord Association which has 18 seats in the 40-member house has suspended its membership in the parliament, said a member, MP Khalil al-Marzooq.
The decision was taken because of “the deterioration in security and the negative and brutal way in which (the authorities) dealt with the (Shia) protesters, killing two of them,” he told AFP by telephone. Fadel Salman Matrouk was shot dead in front of a hospital on Tuesday where mourners gathered for the funeral of Ali Msheymah who died of his wounds after police dispersed a protest in a village east of Manama on Monday, he said.
Marzooq said both men were “martyrs.” The interior ministry said “some of the people participating in the the funeral on Tuesday clashed with forces from a security patrol,” leading to Matrouk’s death. An investigation was underway. It also announced the death of a protester late on Monday “due to his wounds” and opened an inquiry into whether police resorted to “unjustified use of arms” in dispersing the demonstration in Diya village.
News of the two deaths prompted activists, who posted pictures of both men on a Facebook page, to call for a huge turnout at their funerals. Thousands took part in Msheymah’s funeral in Diya, some chanting that “the people want to oust the regime,” the slogan used in Egypt where mass protests forced president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last Friday. The Facebook page which called for a February 14 pro-reform uprising, inspired by the protests which ousted the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, has attracted more than 22,000 likes.
On Tuesday, activists in the kingdom run by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty stepped up their demands. “Before February 14, we were calling for reforms but after the fall of martyrs we are calling for the ouster of the regime,” read their Internet message. Tech-savvy Bahrainis have been using the Internet to issue social demands for the government to create jobs for a growing number of unemployed young people and to increase wages.
“Bahrainis are not less courageous than other people,” said Marzooq who accused security forces of “deliberately” killing the two protesters. His Shia opposition bloc supports the demonstrations “but will not call for them because we want the world to see that those making the change are Bahrain’s youths” and not any political parties, the MP said. Witnesses told AFP that protests were held on Monday in a string of Shia-majority villages to the west, east and north of the capital as well as in the historic Balad al-Qadim quarter of Manama city centre.
Turnout at the rallies ranged from between a few dozen to hundreds of people, they said. “There were no arrests during the the demonstrations, but the police in some cases clashed with the protesters,” a police official told AFP. Security forces were deployed in force along main roads into Manama on Monday in a bid to head off rallies called on the Internet, mirroring similar online initiatives around the Arab world.
Twenty-five Shia activists, facing terrorism charges, are on trial in the tiny Gulf state, ruled by the family of King Hamad that retains a tight grip on the premiership and key ministries.

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