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18 councillors suspend their membership

EIGHTEEN councillors representing opposition group Al Wefaq yesterday suspended their membership on four municipal councils over the govern-ment’s crackdown on protests.

They include six of the eight members on the Manama Municipal Council, seven out of nine on the Northern Municipal Council, four out of nine on the Central Municipal Council and one on the eight-member Muharraq Municipal Council.Al Wefaq is not represented on the Southern Municipal Council.

The decision was announced by Al Wefaq secretary-general Shaikh Ali Salman as he led a Press conference held by a coalition of seven opposition groups at the society’s headquarters in Zinj.“We have an objection against the government’s tactics in deploying the military on the streets,” said bloc vice-president and Manama Municipal Council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri.

“This contradicts our role as repre-sentatives of civil society. People will understand our decision and they are the ones who have pressurised to take action and here we have decided to indefinitely suspend our municipal work.”He explained the decision meant that Al Wefaq councillors would not attend council meetings or perform any of their official duties.

Mr Al Jazeeri said civil servants working at two councils where Al Wefaq has the majority of seats, Manama and Northern, had been told not to come to work from Sunday.“No-one is being forced to attend or not attend and those wishing not to attend will not be penalised because it is their right not to work in these circum-stances,” he said.“The Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry or the Manama and Northern municipalities can’t do any-thing that requires our consent without us – the two chairmen – signing on it, so any decision that comes from them is void.”However, he called on people not to force shops to close and asked them to stop sabotaging lampposts and garbage containers, urging restraint.



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