Checkpoints are cleared in Bahrain
Manama, March 21, 2011
Bahrainis in residential areas across the country have started removing checkpoints set up last week to prevent strangers from entering their neighbourhoods.
Youths with sticks and metal rods have been replaced with police patrols at the checkpoints starting Saturday night.
However, there are still a few areas where youths are reportedly stationed at entrances to neighbourhoods.
Municipal council chairmen say they are hopeful that life in Bahrain will return to normal within a week.
'It is extremism through rumours that has created worry and panic from one sect to the other, which has led to the unnecessary flare of tempers,' said Central Municipal Council chairman Al Asala's Abdulrazzak Al Hattab.
'Sectarianism never existed in Bahrain and it will never exist and after a week of it people have realised that both sects are not enemies of each other, it is just differences in politics,' he said.
'There were some attacks here and there and a few more are expected but from what I see they look to be more personal rather than on a wide scale.'
Al Hattab said that now with life returning normal, locals were ordered to remove their checkpoints and allow police to handle the security responsibility.
'Some answered immediately and there are a few others who have promised to do so within the upcoming two to three days,' he said.
'By the end of the week, we will have no checkpoints in the Central Governorate.
'Love is our best weapon, not knives or guns, and we can easily bridge the gap within days especially in our governorate, because Sunni and Shi'ite neighbourhoods tend to interlope together not just in geography but heart.'
He said that the Electricity and Water Authority would be called whenever the situation cools to fix damaged lampposts.
Muharraq Municipal Council chairman Al Asala's Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed said that some local checkpoints were removed, but others remained due to fears of mass attacks on security and military personnel living in certain neighbourhoods.
'Local checkpoints will be removed according to assessment of whether an individual area was still in danger or not and we have so far removed one near Bahrain International Airport and Busaiteen,' he said.
'We have removed some after residents knew they were safe, but there are other areas that are subject to attack especially where military and security personnel or their families live.
'There are cases in which their doors have been chalked and they were attacked so residents are still hesitant to hand over the protection responsibility to the police.'
'Hopefully, none of the check points will be left by the end of the week, as sectarian tensions end.'-TradeArabia News Service