A crowd of 200 people marched on the US consulate in the Perth CBD on March 22 to protest the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers to suppress the democracy movement in the country.
Bahrain’s popular uprising threatens to follow the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, and topple its Western-backed authoritarian regime.
Chanting outside the US consulate, the protesters — many from the local Bahraini community — made clear the hypocrisy of the US.
The US projects itself as a champion of democracy and freedom in the world but has a long history of backing oppressive, despotic regimes friendly to the interests of US corporations.
With the recent fall of the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, Barack Obama’s government wants to stabilise the Middle East and reassert its control of the region.
The US has tried to deflect attention away from the invasion of Bahrain. Saudi Arabia is the US’s key ally in the region and is itself threatened by democratic rumblings inspired by the waves of people power gripping the region.
US imperialism has not been challenged in such a way in the Middle East for decades.
The protesters message was clear: it is the right of the Bahraini people to democratically determine their own lives, without the meddling of foreign interests who have supported unpopular and oppressive regimes for many years.
The protesters took a letter to the consulate. It called on the US government to:
“1. Condemn the Bahraini regime for the atrocities they committed against unarmed civilians.
“2. Use its influence in the Gulf region to pressure the Saudi Arabian and UAE governments to withdraw their forces from Bahrain, and to stop the massacre of Bahraini protesters seeking legitimate shifts to democracy in the region.
“3. Push the Bahraini government to: Lift the current emergency state in the country; stop the mass imprisonment of protesters without charge; free those already arrested since the beginning of the Bahraini peaceful uprising and; listen to the demands of its people and allow democratic changes to take place in a peaceful manner.”