Bahrain opposition considers talks but sets demands

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Bahrain opposition considers talks but sets demands

Bahrain opposition considers talks but sets demands
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Thousands of demonstrators including some 1500 striking teachers have rallied in the centre of Manama’s Pearl Square, the symbolic focal point of Bahrain’s anti-government protests.

The opposition are also preparing for what they hope will be a large demonstration tomorrow. Meanwhile they have been considering an offer of talks from the Crown Prince.

Many protesters want certain fundamental demands met first. Mostly Shias, they are calling for the Sunni royal dynasty to be replaced by a constitutional monarchy. Some are calling for King Hamad who has ruled for 12 years to step down.

Seven people are known to have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces over the past week.

Force was used to clear Pearl square last week but protesters flocked back at the weekend after security forces withdrew.

Mobile clinics have been set up in tents to treat demonstrators who have been injured – and be ready for any more violence.

“They fired at our camp, they shot at our camp and they attacked it and took all our equipment, the police and the army,” said medical volunteer Dr Hassan Abu Mahdi. “So we started again… we’ll make this tent again and again.”

“I am a volunteer, doing volunteer work, I like to help people and in our situation in Bahrain now we have to be together,” said a nurse, Shafiqa Hassan.

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix has been cancelled because of the civil unrest in the country.

The race would have kicked off the new season in March.

Amid concern over the effect on the economy, the credit ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Bahrain’s rating from A to A-.