Below is a statement from the Bahrain opposition on the banning of a peaceful protest today:
Bahrain: Authorities ban a sit-in protest organised by the opposition, continuing to impose restrictions on freedom of expression
Authorities in Bahrain have banned a previously authorised sit-in protest organised by the opposition in Karbabad on Friday 15th June. Banning such an event proves that the fragility of the authorities and their inability to run the country on a day-by-day basis. Such behaviour also violates all international convictions that guarantee the freedom of expression as a basic human right.
The opposition stress that peaceful gathering is a basic human right of freedom of expression and the authority has no basis to ban a protest. The police exercised irresponsible and repressive procedures by withdrawing permission and threatening the organisers to force them to remove all equipment just a few hours before the planned start time.
The opposition also stressed that the authorities have no right to prevent people from reaching the site of the protest at Karbabad beach, even though all protest equipment had been removed. This is essentially the denial of the right for people to sit freely in any given space.
The opposition also said that the sit-in protest was planned as peaceful and no more than usual protests. To ban it shows a clear restriction on the peaceful practices of political and human rights groups, contradicting the claims of the authorities that they do not ban peaceful protests.
Last Wednesday the authorities banned another protest planned to be held in Manama and arrested many citizens. It is a part of the continuous policies of banning and restricting the right to free expression in Bahrain.