Tue, February 22, 2011
World > Middle East

5,000 Teachers in Bahrain join protests

2011-02-22 13:17:06 GMT2011-02-22 21:17:06(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MANAMA, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of public school teachers in Bahrain have vowed to continue their general strike to support anti-government protestors, who managed to force authorities to give up the Formula one race scheduled for next month.

Protestors, camping at the Pearl Roundabout now dubbed as " Martyrs' Square", got further inspired after more than 5,000 teachers in government schools and hundreds of medical staff joined the protest.

"We will not resume our duties until the demand of the protestors are fulfilled," said Bahrain Teachers Society (BTS) president, Mahdi AbuDeeb.

"All options are open at the moment and the response we have received is overwhelming with thousands of teachers not going to work," he told Xinhua.

Education ministry already announced it was accepting applications for volunteers and retired educators to cope with the shortage of teachers. It said the schools situated in the Capital and Northern Governorate were most affected with low attendance of staff and students.

Seven people have died since the wave of protests that started from Egypt and spread to Bahrain last week. Meanwhile, Shiite protestors camped out in thousands at the landmark in the city center continued with their unity slogans shouting "No Shiite.. No Sunni. Only Bahraini."

"We do not want to change the regime. But we want some equality in political, social and economic sphere. The youth want jobs, families want housing, activists want political prisoners to be released and stop blocking internet," said Saad Samaheej, 23, who has been camping with his comrades for three days now.

On Monday night, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered political prisoners to be freed in a bid to pour cold water over the brewing tensions on the street against the leadership.

According to sources, some of those granted amnesty are Shiite protestors arrested during the unrest and people suspected for being a part of terror cells.

One of them includes senior opposition leader Shaikh Hassan Mushaima, who is expected to return to Bahrain from London Tuesday.

Sources told Xinhua that the leader was returning before the dialogue process starts between the opposition groups and the government.

Bahrain, a close U.S. ally is home to its Navy's Fifth Fleet.

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