Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, says authorities have made thousands of citizens jobless over the past few years due to their political and religious beliefs as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
The dissolved political party, in a statement released on International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day or Workers’ Day, said 4,400 Bahrainis have lost their jobs as a result, warning that the number is on the rise.
Al-Wefaq then pointed to the Manama regime’s “policy of starvation and impoverishment against citizens because of their political opinions.”
The statement further noted that a small fraction of those unemployed people have been hired, but in lower-paying jobs.
Al-Wefaq also paid tribute to Bahraini workers, who lost their lives while taking part in the country’s popular uprising, as well as those who have been permanently disabled due to brutal torture in the regime’s prisons.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
The Bahraini king ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.