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Bahrain 1st-Hand: "The World Looks Up to You" --- Attending the Mass Rally on Human Rights br>
Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: "Bring Your Tanks Here"
2105 GMT: A tale of two contrasting interviews and Bahrain....
Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the opposition group Al Wefaq, tells The Financial Times:
The US and UK should call for an elected, representative government, and a timetable and a road map to achieve that. If this does not happen then they should say that this regime has lost legitimacy. This is what is suitable if they want to talk about democracy and not show double standards in the Arab spring.
Salman welcomed some of the regime's steps after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report, notably allowing the Red Cross into prisons, but he was sceptical about others:
We don’t see an intention really to implement the report, they are just trying to provide a decorative picture. No one who reads the human rights report would think that the same government accused of the abuses could be allowed to implement the recommendations.
Salman set the condition of the end of the Prime Ministerial reign of more than 40 years of Sheikh Khalifa al-Khalifa --- if he did not resign, "the king should remove him, that is a normal, logical demand". He continued, “They don’t look at people as citizens who have rights – so long as this mentality is there, any changes will be limited."
Meanwhile, Con Coughlin of The Daily Telegraph uses an encounter with King Hamad to offer the effusive praise of "a fascinating insight into how the monarchies are managing to survive these challenging times....King Hamad has proved himself to be extremely adroit in dealing with the protesters' demands."
In the interview, the King declared:
What [has] happened was the result of individual acts, not government policy. It is not the policy of the Ministry of Interior to go and kill people on the roads. The policemen and soldiers involved in the killings did not take notice of the discipline side of matters.
If people have done something wrong then they should be held accountable. We have removed people from positions of authority so that this does not happen again.
The King continued, "I care about Bahrain. Bahrain is very dear to me. I will not allow people to play around with our laws."