Aspects of daily life began to return to normal in Bahrain as citizens returned to work, and traffic proceeded amidst heavy security in all provinces.
Majid Al-Naimi, the minister of education, announced that classes will resume Tuesday for public schools, private schools, schools for students with special needs, and universities. Schools closed for nearly one week when political demonstrations became tense.
A number of Kuwait Navy ships arrived near the Bahraini coast Monday morning as part of the Joint Peninsula Shield force, according to a report by the Bahrain News Agency. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent forces to Bahrain after the state of emergency was declared last week. Qatar announced it would send troops but did not specify how many.
In a statement issued Monday (March 21st), the ministry of interior provided assurance to citizens that security has been restored in the kingdom. The streets in all neighbourhoods are being patrolled around the clock.
The ministry said it secured al-Salmaniya Hospital, which now offers all its usual medical services to all residents. Security forces surrounded the hospital last week after clashes occurred with demonstrators. Many individuals who were injured during the demonstrations were brought to the hospital, but hospital staff said security officials prevented some patients from receiving treatment. The government denied any mistreatment of patients and staff at the hospital.
In a statement issued Sunday, the opposition demanded the "creation of a sound and healthy atmosphere" they said is essential to starting a dialogue between the opposition and the government "on a basis that would help set our country on the same path taken by other countries towards true democracy and steer it away from sliding towards an abyss."
Representatives from seven political societies including al-Wefaq, Waad, al-Minbar al-Islami, the Islamic Action Society, National Gathering Society, Democratic Gathering Society, and the National Brotherhood said they "did not set preconditions for starting the dialogue but outlined a set of principles without which any dialogue is bound to fail and won’t lead the country to a solution."
Jawad Fayrouz, a member of the al-Wefaq bloc which resigned from the House of Representatives, denied that political opposition groups retreated from their declared positions as some media outlets reported. He said the opposition's demands for conditions that are conducive to meaningful dialogue, namely the departure of foreign troops, the release of detainees, and location of missing persons.
About 95 people are reported missing since the clashes began, according to an al-Wefaq representative who spoke with Arab Times. Twenty of the missing persons were reportedly arrested.
Fayrouz emphasised "the need to ensure the existence of an impartial international fact-finding commission that can identify who is responsible for the killings and the ongoing humiliation, abduction, and detention". He said the opposition lost hope in the formation of a local investigative commission that is capable of uncovering the truth impartially.
Regarding accusations that the opposition has internationalized the Bahrain crisis, Fayrouz told Al-Shorfa, "The regime decided to internationalize the crisis by summoning the Peninsula Shield forces which is not within the (parameters) of security agreement between the GCC countries."
MP Abdullah Al-Dosari, head of the independent bloc in the Bahraini House of Representatives, said the opposition's political societies are "the root of the scourge". He said it is time they come to their senses and think seriously about restoring stability to the country.
Al-Dosari told Al-Shorfa, "The dialogue was wide open to all segments of the opposition, and the invitation was issued to them more than once with no ceiling on freedom of expression. They were dismissive and arrogant. They (the opposition) owe the people an apology for drawing Bahrain into a political crisis and for fuelling sectarianism which devours everything in its path with its toxic flames."
He said the opposition's political societies do not possess enough political sophistication to keep up with events and realize gains without harming society, the economy and the security of the citizenry.
"Any dialogue should take place in parliament by the legitimate national legislative council that includes representatives and shura figures. The opportunity for dialogue was open to the opposition, but they set up roadblocks instead and are now reaping what they sowed," Al-Dosari said.
According to Al-Dosari, the contradictory statements the opposition made are evidence of political floundering and a lack of sincerity in their intentions. He said the tension reached a point where all segments of the Bahraini street are now opposed to their demands.
Last Thursday, Bahraini officials arrested six opposition political figures "pursuant to the powers delegated to the General Command of the Bahrain Defence Forces to implement the decree declaring a state of national safety" according to an official statement.
The detainees included Hassan Mushaima, Abdul Hadi Mokhdar, Abdul Wahab Hussein, Ibrahim Sharif, Hassan Haddad, and Abdul Jalil Singace.
Attorney Sami Siyadi told Al-Shorfa he expects a legal team to form soon that will defend the six detained political activists. He did not specify how many attorneys would be part of the defence team.
Siyadi, who is familiar with discussions among a potential legal defence team said, "Communication is currently ongoing between several lawyers to initiate the process whereby each lawyer reviews the status of the detainee he is assigned to."
When asked whether attorneys met with the detainees, Siyadi said, "We tried more than once to communicate with more than one official, but we have so far been unable to acquire any information about the detainees. We do not know anything about them at this moment."