A Bahraini minister Friday accused demonstrators of having a “foreign agenda”, running over unarmed policemen in cars and beating up patients in a major hospital.
Fatima Al-Beloushi, Minister for Social Development, said the demonstrators had links to a neighboring country and Hezbollah, but stopped short of naming Iran as being behind the unrest in the kingdom.
Bahrain’s government was investigating the violence, in which 19 had been killed and hundreds injured, she said.
Riots police dispersed protesters from a roundabout and took over a hospital in the tiny island kingdom last week after weeks of unrest.
“What we have discovered after the government took over the roundabout and took back the hospital, we found out that those people who were doing it were instigated by a foreign country and by Hezbollah,” Al-Beloushi told a news conference in Geneva.
“We have direct proof. Hezbollah has provided training for their people. They were serving a foreign agenda and that is why it was not something for having a better livelihood. They were fulfilling an outside political agenda,” she said.
Thousands of Bahrainis turned out for a sermon of a major Shiite cleric Friday ahead of “Day of Rage” protests planned across the Gulf Arab country despite a ban imposed under martial law.
Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Isa Qassim said “brutal force” used against protesters will not drown out their demands for reforms. He said the Bahrainis will continue demanding rights and dignity.
The powerful cleric was speaking at a Friday sermon in Duraz, an opposition stronghold northwest of the capital, Manama.
Security was tight, with police and army deployed around the island. Helicopters and two fighter jets circled above.Agencies