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Bahrain crackdown: Tactics & weapons imported from UK

Published time: February 15, 2012 06:27
Edited time: February 15, 2012 15:58

Riot police clear up the road blocks set up by anti government portesters during clashes in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, February 12, 2012. (Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed)

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Heavily armed police are patrolling the streets of Bahrain's capital Manama after cracking down on protesters who called for democratic reforms.

­Activists threw petrol bombs, rocks and iron bars after rallies marking the anniversary of Bahrain’s reform movement were met with tanks, gas and rubber bullets. Dozens were injured in the latest crackdown.

While the 2011 uprising was crushed by security forces aided by Saudi troops, killing at least 35, this time the weapons and tactics used to smash the protests are British.

John Yates, Former London Metropolitan Asst Commissioner, is the man giving the orders. He was hired by Bahrain’s monarchy as part of the regime’s PR campaign to clean up its image after the brutal crackdown a year ago.

Yates resigned from Scotland Yard in shame over British police complicity in phone-hacking and started work with the Bahrain ruling family in December. He believes the pro-democracy demo’s were not “… organized protests, it’s just vandalism, rioting on the streets”

Yet London’s Bahraini community hotly disputes Yates' position. “When thousands and thousands protest and demand their rights, do you call that vandalism?” activist Shehab Hashem, told RT.

Government figures show the UK sold over 1 million pounds worth of rifles and artillery to Bahrain from July to September last year, despite claims all licenses had been revoked. 

UK Trade secretary Vince Cable confessed last week: "We do trade with governments that are not democratic and have bad human rights records. We do business with repressive governments and there's no denying that."