Manama: Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa ordered the government on Monday to implement a parliamentary call for tough measures against what the authorities are calling an upsurge in “terrorism” linked to protests.
King Hamad forwarded to the government recommendations adopted on Sunday by the parliament, ordering their “quick implementation”, the official BNA news agency said.
The parliament, which is boycotted by the opposition, gave authorities powers to revoke the citizenship of anyone “recognised as guilty of committing or inciting an act of terrorism”.
At an extraordinary session requested by King Hamad during a parliamentary recess, MPs also recommended “a ban on gatherings and rallies” in the capital Manama. It called for emergency law to be declared in the kingdom if the need arose in the run-up to a major opposition demonstration called for mid-August.
MPs urged authorities to prosecute political groups that “incite and support acts of violence and terrorism”, as well as those that use media social networks to “spread false information”.
Al Ayam newspaper described the recommendations as “historic” and a reflection of a “national consensus to fight terrorism” in the kingdom.
The Shiite-led opposition on Monday described the language used in the parliamentary debate as a “declaration of war on the people, as well as open threats and insults to beliefs”.
But the opposition groups also insisted in a statement that the people’s actions remain “peaceful,” denouncing “propaganda to promote a security solution... which violates international conventions”.
The authorities say there have been a growing number of shootings and bombings targeting police stations and patrols in Shiite-majority villages outside Manama, and they blame “terrorists” for the attacks.
They have often used the term to refer to demonstrators who have engaged in repeated clashes with security forces.
A car bomb exploded outside a Sunni mosque, close to the royal court in Riffa south of Manama, on July 17 without causing any casualties. There have since been three arrests.
In mid-February, a police officer was killed by a petrol bomb during clashes with protesters.
The opposition insisted on the need for a “serious and meaningful dialogue” to end the country’s “constitutional crisis”.
In February, the opposition joined a national dialogue called by King Hamad aimed at resolving the political deadlock in the kingdom.
The meetings, that were held every two weeks, have been suspended until the end of August for the summer break.