Friday, March 25, 2011

Rally for democracy and freedom in Bahrain

By Chris Jenkins

A crowd of 200 people marched on the US consulate in the Perth CBD on Tuesday March 22 in protest after Saudi soldiers and police from the United Arab Emirates entered Bahrain territory to help suppress the democracy movement in Bahrain. The popular uprising threatens to follow the examples of Tunisia and Egypt and topple it's Western-backed authoritarian regime.

Chanting outside the US consulate, the protesters - many from the local Bahraini community - made clear the hypocrisy of the United States, whose self-projected image of being a champion of democracy and freedom in the world has left a long shadow of oppressive, despotic regimes amiable to the interests of US corporations.

With the fall of such friendly regimes as the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, the Obama government is hard pressed to stabilise the Middle East and return the calm the world's oil giants need to continue plundering the wealth of the whole region. This has led to the US striving to deflect attention away from the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia, America's chief ally in the region and itself threatened by democratic rumblings that takes strength from the waves of people power gripping the region.

Never has US imperalism been so challenged in the Middle East. The message from Tuesday's rally was clear: it is the right of the Bahraini people to democratically determine their own lives, without the meddling of foreign interests whose conduct has left unpopular and outright oppressive regimes in power at home and abroad for decades. The more these foreign governments and corportate interests attempt to stifle this people's movement in Bahrain and elsewhere, the more determined we must be to see it succeed.

Protesters took a letter to the Consulate demanding of the US government:

"1) Condemnation of the Bahraini regime for the atrocities they committed against unarmed civilians.

"2) Use its influence in the gulf region to pressure the Saudi and Emirati governments to withdraw their forces from Bahrain, and to stop the massacre of Bahraini protesters seeking legitimate shifts to democracy in the region.

"3) Push the Bahraini Government to:
"i- Lift the current emergency state in the country.

"ii- Stop en mass imprisonment of protesters without charge

"iii- Free those already arrested since the beginning of the Bahraini peaceful uprising.

"iv- Listen to the demand of its people, and allow democratic changes to take place in a peaceful manner."