AFTER THE CRACKDOWN: STATE TERROR AGAINST WORKERS, MEDIA AND POLITICAL ACTIVISTS
Bahraini firms have fired hundreds of mostly Shi'ite workers who went on strike to support pro-democracy protesters, part of a government crackdown, an opposition group said on yesterday.
Bahrain's unions called a general strike on March 13 to support pro-democracy protesters against the (Sunni-led) government who for weeks occupied a square in the capital until "security forces" moved in on March 16. The strike was called off on March 22.
Officials at Batelco, Gulf Air, Bahrain Airport Services and APM Terminals Bahrain said they had laid off more than 200 workers due to absence during the strike...
Bahrain's main opposition group, Wefaq, said it estimated that more than 1,000 workers had been laid off and that most were Shi'ites.
More lay-offs are expected at Bahrain Petroleum (Bapco) which has fired the head of its workers' union. Workers fear that hundreds could be fired at the company after parliament launched an investigation headed by a Sunni hardline deputy.
"Everybody is afraid," a worker who did not wish to be named told Reuters.
Bahrain has increased its arrests of bloggers, activists and Shi'ites, with more than 300 detained and dozens missing since last month's crackdown on the pro-democracy protests.
Bahrain has seen the worst clashes between its Shi'ite majority population (but supported by hundreds of Sunnis, mostly "ordinary" workers) and the Sunni-ruled security forces since the 1990s after pro-democracy protesters, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets in February.
The "security forces" have killed at least 13 protesters during days of pro-democracy protests and prompted Bahrain to declare martial law and invite troops by Sunni Gulf neighbors... Saudi Arabia and the UAE, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) sent thousands of troops and riot cops to smash the pro-democracy movement.
After "security forces", supported by the GCC occupation forces, crushed the protests, the government launched a crackdown on opposition activists, Shi'ite villages and media such as the only opposition newspaper, Al-Wasat...