Bahrainis have staged anti-US rallies outside the capital to protest against Washington’s support for Manama’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.
Holding the US responsible for the crimes committed against anti-regime protesters in Bahrain, hundreds of people took to the streets on Monday to urge Washington to end its support for the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty.
The protesters also burned the US flag during the rallies.
The anti-US rallies came days after the US State Department announced that Washington is resuming sales of weapons to Bahrain. Rights activists and Bahraini opposition groups have condemned the decision, saying it could encourage further human rights violations in the Persian Gulf country.
The resumption of arms sales follows a recent visit to Washington by Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Hamid Al Khalifa, who met senior US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Matar Matar, a spokesperson for the main opposition party al-Wefaq, has said that most Bahrainis oppose the US plan to resume selling weapons to their country.
“Bahrainis are disappointed by this decision. The situation is moving from bad to worse. This arms deal the government will interpret as a green light to continue the arrests,” Matar said.
Rights groups have repeatedly accused Washington of turning a blind eye to suppression of protests in Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, while showing strong support for opposition movements in other Middle East countries, including Syria.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, which later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
Scores of people have been killed and many others have been injured in the Saudi-backed crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain.