Bahrain backs off on closure of opposition groups

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 2:34 AM
Bahrain backs off on closure of opposition groups

Bahrain's government appears to be pulling back from plans to dismantle main Shiite opposition parties after criticism from Washington and other allies.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency said on Friday that authorities are holding off any action until the outcome of investigations into the main Shiite political group, Wefaq, and a smaller Shiite bloc.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers had earlier said the groups would be shut down for alleged links to the Shiite-led uprising in the strategic Gulf kingdom that hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The U.S. State Department quickly raised concern about Bahrain's plans to block the groups.

Wefaq has withdrawn its lawmakers from Bahrain's parliament to protest the government's crackdown on dissent, including a declaration of martial law.