Bahraini protestors in Manchester targeted

Article published: Saturday, April 9th 2011

Bahraini citizens who participated in a solidarity protest in Manchester against their government’s repression of pro-democracy demonstrations have alleged that they are being targeted for reprisals.

Photograph: Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition

They claim that Bahraini government informants infiltrated the demonstration outside BBC Manchester two weeks ago, which involved hundreds of Bahraini citizens and supporters, and took video recordings of the participants. According to Bahraini students at Manchester Metropolitan University, eight Bahrainis at higher education institutions in Manchester have subsequently had their scholarships cancelled, and are fearful of being arrested upon their return home.

Speaking to MULE, another of the Bahraini students named Mohammed stated that their protests were “for freedom and justice and to change the regime and government of Bahrain”, which is currently controlled by the Al Khalifa royal family. He described himself and the other students as “very scared” at the prospect of arrest by the Bahraini authorities, who have been accused of multiple serious human rights violations in their response to protests in February and March this year which left five people dead.

Another Bahraini citizen living in Bolton, Yasser Al Sayer, claims that following his attendance of the protest his nephew living in Bahrain was beaten and has now disappeared.

Speaking to Stop the War Coalition activists, Al Sayer said: “Three days after the Manchester protest I got a call from my sister. She told me that seven jeeps and two civilian cars pulled up outside her house. Armed Bahraini and Saudi forces raided her home. My nephew Sayed was beaten very badly. They told my sister they were taking her son, but that she could go to the police station in Isa Town to collect him. When she arrived in the morning they said they had no record of him.”

In recent years Britain has been a major supporter of the Bahraini security services, providing training, weaponry and advice. Repressive regimes in the Middle East are widely believed to actively monitor dissidents based overseas. Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague recently said that the British government ‘will stand by those protesting for democracy in Bahrain.’

Andrew Bowman

More: Education, Features


  1. Thanks for mentioning what’s happening in Bahrain, its even worse I’m a doctor and 8 for best Bahraini consultent doctors are being arrested,they are members of the Royal collage Of Surgeons,we still don’t know where r they and wether they r alife or not, the only 1 goverment hospital where I work is taken by the military and Saudi solders who walk atround the hospital wearing ski masks were only there eyes r shown
    The situation s so bad we are almost not working cuz patients afraid to seeq medical help protestors are not allowed to come to hospital and f they do they are beaten and taken to unknown place
    We need help
    Please take our voice

    Comment by Bahraini Doctor on April 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm
  2. I have heard on the grapevine that there are students at Salford University who have had their scholarships withdrawn as well. People should put pressure on the universities to take a principled stand and defend those students who have been targeted

    Comment by Withingtonian on April 11, 2011 at 11:01 am
  3. If Bahrainis cannot protest in this country without fear of reprisals for themselves and their families in Bahrain, then we must do it for them.I cannot use my real name, but please add details of any ways we can get involved to help to this comment forum.

    For a start, universities should support Bahraini students who have had scholarships withdrawn and universities at the highest levelst should protest to the Bahraini and British governments.

    Strange, though, how Bahrain seems to have dropped off the news radar in Britain: Saudi support for the bombing of Libya must be a key element in holding the coalition together; and what lucrative contracts are at stake in Saudi and Bahrain, I wonder. Will we soon see a Cabinet minister flying to the Gulf for apologise for any critical comments in to the British media about what’s been happening in Bahrain?

    Comment by cato the censor on April 13, 2011 at 11:10 am
  4. […] attending educational institutions in Greater Manchester. After suspected Bahraini government spies filmed and photographed a solidarity demonstration held outside the BBC building on Oxford Road last month, several […]

    Pingback by Bahraini students call for support  —   MULE on May 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm
  5. […] were refugee journalists and others from Bahrain, and some demonstrators covered their faces for fear of reprisals. Speaking to MULE, Manchester activist Nahella Ashraf said: “I think it’s absolutely shocking […]

    Pingback by Outrage as Manchester businesses roll out red carpet for Bahraini royal  —   MULE on October 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

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