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21-12-2011 - Gulf Daily News

Bahraini MP storms out over protest crackdown

An MP stormed out of parliament yesterday in protest against police tactics when dealing with protesters.


Ali Al Shamtoot - who represents Sanabis, Karbabad and Seef District - staged the walkout after holding up images in parliament depicting injured civilians and tear gas canisters.


He argued that police had been too physical in responding to protests and accused them of using excessive tear gas.

However, he stormed out after parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani told him to be quiet because the issue was not listed for debate on parliament's agenda.


Mr Al Shamtoot spoke up during discussions about government plans for an annual Policemen's Day on December 14 and argued that he had every right to state his case - particularly while MPs were expressing support for the performance of police.


He criticised his colleagues for praising policemen rather than tackling allegations of human rights violations by security forces.

However, MP Shaikh Jassim Al Saeedi stood up for Bahrain's policemen - who he said were being repeatedly targeted with violence by anti-government "thugs".


He also refused to fill a seat on parliament's human rights committee, which he said was there to protect those behind acts of violence on the streets.


"Every day policemen are being beaten up by thugs and police vehicles are burnt or attacked - and parliament wants me to join a committee that protects aggressors," he said.


Bahrain Bloc MP Abbas Al Madi later accepted the position because he believed there was no one to protect policemen's rights.He replaces Al Asala MP Ghanim Al Buainain on the committee.


Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa was due to appear before MPs yesterday to answer questions connected to the police, but was unable to attend because he was at the GCC Summit in Riyadh.


He is now expected to be present at next Tuesday's parliament session. However, Interior Ministry Acting Under-Secretary Brigadier Hassan Al Sameem was there and pledged police would continue serving the country in the best way possible.


"We are committed to protecting the nation - country and people - from any harm and will continue doing so," he said.


Other sources on GCC civil society and human rights