Bahrain attacks claim 9 police officers
Manama, October 28, 2013
A total of nine policemen have been killed and more than 2,300 injured since the outbreak of anti-government protests in 2011, said top government official.
The figures, released by Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab, come after seven policemen were hurt when a homemade bomb exploded in Demistan on Saturday night, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Police said the device had deliberately targeted security forces and it was placed inside a barrier that was placed to block the road.
The general director of Northern Governorate police said last night two of the injured policemen are in critical but stable condition.
They are being treated in the BDF Hospital.
"Given the nature of the serious violence and the armed attacks faced daily by Bahrain's police, they would be justified in using direct live fire," said Rajab, the government's official spokeswoman.
"International law allows police forces to use all necessary and proportionate force. However, Bahrain's police forces are using less force than is legally permitted. This restraint has resulted in injuries to more than 2,300 police personnel and nine police deaths."
The release of the figures follows complaints from opposition activists about the use of tear gas and other crowd control equipment by police.
A petition was launched by a group calling itself Bahrain Watch after a document that claimed to be an Interior Ministry tender notice, dated June 16, was published online.
It invited tenders from companies to supply police with 1.6 million tear gas canisters, 145,000 sound and flash grenades, 45,000 CS hand grenades and 45,000 tear gas hand grenades.
The founders of Bahrain Watch include Ala'a Shehabi, the daughter of a UK resident convicted of terrorism, and Ali Abdulemam, who fled Bahrain to the UK after being convicted of terrorism.
Rajab said tear gas is non-lethal and its manufacture, purchase and use by security forces is permitted worldwide.
"The primary mission of police departments is to protect lives and property," she said.
"Tear gas is used all over the world in public order and riot control situations to disperse crowds and to create a distance between police and people. This reduces serious injuries to all involved.
"Tear gas is non-lethal and it is used appropriately by the police, in compliance with the law and in full adherence with the internationally accepted standards contained in the Bahrain Police Code of Conduct."
Rajab said police were also exposed to tear gas when they used it to disperse crowds.
"Of far greater concern are the highly carcinogenic fumes that are released from the tyres that are burnt by rioters on Bahrain's streets and their use of homemade guns and explosives and Molotov cocktails," she said.
"Open tyre burning in this manner is illegal and criminally punishable in most jurisdictions, including the US and UK."
Following yesterday's 1am attack on police in Demistan, MP Khalid Abdul A'al said residents were fed up with the daily violence but were too afraid to speak out.
"People are fed up with these blocking of roads and bombings as it affects them directly," he said.
"The roads are in a bad condition and lampposts damaged along with blocking of roads. If you speak out they will burn your house, car or damage property. I have personally visited residents in my area, who all are against street violence, but they are afraid to speak out." – TradeArabia News Service