The AFL-CIO Solidarity Center sends us this report.
One year ago today, a peaceful demonstration massed in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, with tens of thousands of men, women and children joining the call for greater social justice in their country. By exercising their rights to free speech and free assembly, the brave protesters provided their government with the chance to address issues of equality and democracy.
Instead, they were met with harsh retaliation. Working people were fired from their jobs, detained or even imprisoned. The independent unions and associations representing workers were and still are under attack. Healthcare workers were punished for helping those injured during the government crackdown.
The AFL-CIO today marks this sad anniversary by standing in solidarity with Bahraini workers and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU). Says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a letter to the GFBTU:
The hopes of Bahrain’s majority for a more inclusive and democratic Bahrain expressed in those demonstrations unfortunately were met early on with brutal repression, turning what could have been an opportunity for national unity into a painful and dangerous rupture between the government and its people.
Throughout the year, the AFL-CIO has stood in solidarity with the GFBTU in its struggle to protect labor and human rights—and Trumka told the GFBTU the AFL-CIO will continue to do so as Bahraini workers brave ongoing threats to their dignity, economic stability and humanity.