BEIRUT – Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said in a statement Friday that he has “again” given orders to security forces to inform the al-Risalat center that it may not hold two events expected to be critical of the Bahraini government.
Here’s what we know:
• On Thursday, Mawlawi spoke out against the events after consulting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, saying that they “will hinder the efforts made by the state to strengthen relations with the Gulf countries within the framework of the Kuwaiti initiative.”
• Earlier on Friday the president of the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Baqir Darwish, told news site Elnashra that the two events will take place “at the Risalat center, near the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut. Bahrainis organized events in Beirut according to legal standards,” adding that the ban on organizing these activities “is an attack on freedom of expression.”
• “The pressure exerted by the government of Bahrain on the Lebanese authorities constitutes an aggression against the sovereignty of the nation and violates diplomatic norms,” said Darwish.
• The two events were originally scheduled for Feb. 11 and 14 at the al-Saha Hotel on the airport road in Beirut.
• Lebanese authorities have recently stepped up their efforts to prevent any activity hostile to the Gulf monarchies. In December, Mawlawi ordered the expulsion of members of Bahrain's Shiite opposition group al-Wifaq days after a press conference in Beirut.
• Lebanon is trying to restore ties with the Gulf monarchies following a diplomatic crisis sparked by former Information Minister George Kurdahi’s remarks on Saudi Arabia's military intervention in Yemen.