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Villagers march to save beaches

MORE than 200 protesters gathered at the seashore of Karbabad Village yesterday demanding a halt to reclamation activities in the area.

They claim the eastern coastline is the only part of Bahrain that still has public beaches and if this is reclaimed their heritage will be lost.

"From the Diplomatic Area down to Seef all this area has been turned into private land and here is the only spot where people can enjoy the sea," Manama Municipal Council area councillor Hameed Al Basri told the GDN.

"The seashore used to be by the doors of these people, but now it's 2km away, and if this area is also reclaimed, it will be in private hands and will only be for a gated community.

"This is the only seashore left where people can go for recreation and even though the shore is not clean and doesn't have sand, still people come here because they have nowhere else to go. This is why people are strongly opposed to reclamation.

"Enough is enough. These people at the top have got so much from reclamation projects, when will they stop?"

Protesters were also demonstrating over a decision by the Municipalities and Agricultural Ministry to evict them from about five small huts that they use to home their boats and belongings.

Fishermen claim the huts are crucial to their work, especially as they provide shelter during the hotter months.

"The municipality says it is private land and we say the land is public because this is sea here and not land and no reclamation should be allowed," said Mr Al Basri, who is the area councillor for Karbabad, Sanabis and Seef.

"In Muharraq they have 76 huts and they are even provided with electricity and water, so how is it they won't allow us even four or five?

"It doesn't make sense and doesn't go with the rhetoric of the government to help fishermen."

Mr Al Basri said the Culture Ministry had recognised the historical and cultural importance of these huts and had even paid to take one of them for an exhibition in Germany.

"How is it one ministry is supporting us and the other is threatening to evict us?" he asked.

"The deadline for eviction from the huts was about two weeks ago and the municipality came with workmen and their trucks, but we stopped them in front of the huts and protested against them and they left.

"After negotiations they temporarily postponed evacuation, but they will come back." becky@gdn.com.bh



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