|code: 316544||Date: 2012/05/20 - 23:31||source: MNA|
Bahraini protesters say 'Land is not for sale'
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Activists said was the largest protest in months, New York Times reported.
“No to union. Bahrain is not for sale,” protesters chanted as they marched along a main road linking a number of Shia villages around the capital.
Others shouted “the country is not up for auction,” as the crowds responded to a call by the predominantly Shia opposition to march under the slogan “ready to sacrifice (ourselves) for Bahrain.”
The unity proposal has increased tensions in Bahrain, which is still in turmoil more than a year after the government violently suppressed a popular uprising, with military help from the Saudi government.
Shia spiritual figure Ayatollah Issa Qassem, speaking at a mosque in Duraz, west of Manama, demanded that any proposed union of the two countries be submitted to a referendum, according to AFP.
The principal opposition group, Al-Wefaq, has made the same demand.
The people have the “right to oppose or approve this union,” Qassem said.
“Why prevent the people from expressing their fear, their opposition and their opposition and their legitimate peaceful resistance to a project that is being forced on them?” he asked.
The six members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, a grouping of the Sunni Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf, have been discussing a Saudi proposal that would lead toward some form of closer political union.
The first step in this process would be the union of Bahrain, which has a Shia majority, with Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis, fearing the contagion of the revolts in Bahrain and elsewhere have pushed a proposal for greater unity with five other Persian Gulf monarchies. While Bahrain’s king has welcomed the proposal, opposition activists in the country, and some of the other Persian Gulf states, have balked at the idea. Leaders in the Persian Gulf this week decided to delay any decisions on the matter.