Brian Dooley: The Bahrain government has pressed the "Repression Button"

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Brian Dooley, Director of the Human Rights Defenders program at Human Rights First, writes for Policy Mic:
Bahrain is bracing for a series of protests likely to be the most significant in over a year. Inspired by the Tamarod Movement, which helped bring down the Morsi government in Egypt, Bahriani activists will take to the streets on August 14, a date that marks the country’s independence from Britain.

“Everyone’s talking about the date, waiting for it,” said Said Yousif al Muhafda of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. “I’m expecting large protests throughout the country —not just in the villages but in the capital Manama too.”

The government is responding to the prospect of widespread dissent with a predictable reach for the Repression Button.(...)

Despite — or because of — consistent efforts by the government to silence dissent, protests have carried on since February 2011, when large-scale demonstrations in Manama triggered a violent response from government forces backed by Saudi troops. Now Bahrain’s Tamarod organizers are planning widespread civil disobedience, including a general strike. “We’re expecting violence from the police,” said Said Yousif. “Peaceful protestors calling for their legitimate rights are being called terrorists by the government.”

Anticipation of the 14th is reinvigorating many dissidents in the country. Protests are expected to start on Saturday and last for several days. Staff at the country’s main hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Complex, told Human Rights First that all leave has been cancelled from August 12-14.
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