Malls in Bahrain closed to stop protesters
Manama, February 15, 2012
Protesters took to malls and shopping centres in the heart of Manama yesterday (February 14) in an attempt to camouflage plans to storm the former GCC (Pearl) roundabout.
Police ordered the Marina Mall, Ramez supermarket, Lulu Centre and the Central Market to close as a precautionary measure around 1.30pm as security forces stepped up their presence in the area.
A policeman at the scene told our sister publication the Gulf Daily News the decision was taken after some "unusual activity".
"We had reports from some mall officials there were an unusual number of shoppers in their premises," he said. "When we checked, we found many were not shoppers, but had other plans."
The policeman said the malls were then ordered closed and everyone left peacefully.
A Marina Mall official confirmed police were called following an "unusual footfall".
"We had more number of shoppers than on normal days and that was unusual since we expected less in keeping with the general situation," he said, confirming police ordered them to close. "Hopefully, the situation will return to normal soon and we can reopen.”
An official at Lulu Centre also said there was "more than usual" activity at the shopping centre.
"We were surprised at first, but then realised these were no ordinary shoppers," he said.
A Ramez official confirmed it closed the market after police requests.
The meat, fish and vegetable markets at the Central Market wore also deserted at around noon with most shops closed.
One vegetable and fruits dealer said traders had pledged to remain open, but said safety came first.
Most shops in the Bab Al Bahrain area and the Manama Suq were open as usual but there were few shoppers.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping nothing bad happens, but we will have to wait and see," said shop owner Salman Abdulla Salman, who runs a tailoring business.
Shops and restaurants in the Salmaniya area also reported little or no business.
A cold store owner near Salmaniya Medical Complex said he had been making more home deliveries than usual. – TradeArabia News Service