Bahrain Bans All Protests; Denies Opening of UNHRC Office
Bahrain Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid al-Khalifa announced a government ban on all protests and gatherings, citing “repeated abuses” of freedom of speech and expression. Al-Khalifa called rallies and gatherings “a major threat to the safety of the public,” and added that any “illegal rally or gathering would be tackled through legal actions against those calling for and participating in it.” The ban came days after the death of a Bahraini police officer who was injured in April. Writing in Foreign Policy, Cole Bockenfeld warned that, “repressing peaceful protests by force does not make people go home — it angers and emboldens them.”
Additionally, Bahrain officials denied reports that a United Nations High Commission for Human Rights office would open in Bahrain. The Ministry of Human Rights Affairs said, “Opening a UNHRC office is a sovereign decision that requires the approval of the Bahraini government,” and added “Bahrain does not need to have such an office in the foreseeable or distant future.” Meanwhile, Prince Nasser Bin Hamad al-Khalifa announced a trip to Gaza City. He will open two schools “which have been funded by the Bahrain Royal Charity Organization,” said a source close to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.