Bahrain police beat blockade threat
Manama, September 22, 2011
Bahrain’s police have been credited with ensuring traffic in Manama did not come to a complete standstill yesterday (September 21) morning, despite plans to disrupt movement throughout the capital during rush hour.
Officers from the Special Security Forces, General Directorate of Traffic and the police force were out in numbers to make sure key junctions, highways and roads in Manama remained open.
This included a diversion outside the Bahrain Financial Harbour, which carried traffic heading from Seef towards Bab Al Bahrain, as well as another that prevented vehicles from A'ali reaching the Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway.
Although there were reports of traffic congestion outside the capital, the measures ensured that traffic continued to flow on roads in Manama - particularly on King Faisal Highway, which was a target of the 'Bahrain Blockade' protest.
Traffic lights in some locations were also disabled as police directed vehicles manually.
'It is good to see the traffic police and special security forces guiding the traffic and ensuring safety of motorists,' said Isa Abdulla, 32.
There was an increased security presence in Manama, with armed forces on standby at major highways. BDF personnel manned the entrance to Salmaniya Medical Complex, checking identities of those entering the hospital complex.
Security guards at banks, offices and ministries in the Diplomatic Area were also highly visible - taking up position outside their buildings. Meanwhile, staff met students at the entrance of schools in the presence of community police.
Authorities had drafted in several tow trucks to haul away any cars used to block roads, with several parked outside the Sanabis Police Station.
It followed online calls by an anonymous group for motorists to block traffic on King Faisal Highway, Exhibition Avenue and in the Diplomatic Area between 7am and 10am.
Referred to as a 'Bahrain Blockade', the move had been criticised by authorities and the private sector for targeting key trade centres and threatening the economy.
However, roads remained relatively quiet during the early morning in Manama, with buses and taxis operating normally.
But the numbers increased after 9am, with heavy traffic on Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway and roads in Budaiya, as well as elsewhere in Manama.
By 11am the roads had returned to normal, but police patrol vehicles - stained with white and pink paint as a result of being targeted by vandals - continued to monitor the streets. – TradeArabia News Service