Protests 'harming Bahrain economy'
Manama, March 14, 2011
Protesters who blocked roads into Manama can no longer be considered peaceful and their actions are severely harming Bahrain's economy, said a leading businesswoman.
Every citizen has the right to protest within the law without infringing on the rights of others, said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board member and BCCI Businesswomen's committee head Afnan Al Zayani.
However, protesters who blocked the King Faisal Highway prevented people from going about their daily lives and went beyond peaceful means, she said.
'This is uncalled for escalation and not to the benefit of anyone when we are all trying to reach a compromise and ensure peaceful co-existence,' the business leader told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'There is a limit and when you infringe and dictate and impinge yourself on others this is not correct, this is the red line.
'They are protesting in a peaceful way in a contained space and the country is moving, but with this for every action there is a reaction and where is this taking us?
'It's taking us to dangerous levels, so we need to exercise self-restraint and start dialogue as soon as possible.'
Al Zayani said businesses were suffering and investors were thinking twice about coming to Bahrain and some of this damage was irreversible.
The unrest in the country was also affecting medical services and education, she added.
'Medical services and education shouldn't be battlegrounds, they should be sacred areas,' said Al Zayani.
'Everyone knows business is suffering and local and foreign investors are thinking twice about putting their money here because there is no guarantee this won't happen again and that means we will lose value-added jobs and customers.
'Some damage is irreversible and there are many cities around us that are hungry for these companies and they are offering incentives and these companies and banks don't have to stay here.'
Al Zayani said dialogue was the only way to solve the country's problems and it needed to go ahead immediately, especially now that 80 per cent of all demands had been agreed upon by all parties.
'We need dialogue to start fast and whoever came, came, we can't keep people and the country hostage,' she said.
'We have now taken it to a very dangerous level and dialogue is essential immediately.
'All have to step down and find a solution for all, no one can have it their way 100 per cent and the result for Bahrain will be worthwhile for all and we all have this in mind.
'Now for the 20 per cent (of demands still to be agreed upon) they have to find a way to reach a formula and it can't be reached when the feeling is electrified.
'It has to be solved politically with dialogue and nothing else will do it. It can't be resolved on the streets or at the roundabout.'-TradeArabia News Service