NURSES' leaders claimed yesterday that they had been evicted from their society premises by the Health Ministry, for objecting to the arrest of a colleague for treating an alleged riot suspect.
They claim officials changed the locks on the Bahrain Nursing Society (BNS) premises on Monday to stop them from holding a party on Tuesday to celebrate the release from custody of Alba occupational nurse Ibrahim Al Demestani, who is also BNS secretary-general.
Mr Al Demestani was arrested on March 17, but released the next day, following an attack on a police patrol by about 60 people in Karzakan on March 15.
Police fired warning shots to deter the mob as they were showered with Molotov cocktails, according to the Interior Ministry.
But the crowd did not disperse and police were forced to shoot towards the alleged attackers, injuring one of them, said an earlier statement. The Bahraini was later allegedly sneaked into Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) and treated by Mr Al Demestani.
BNS president Rula Al Saffar said yesterday that assistant under-secretary for hospital affairs Ameen Al Saa'ti ordered locks to be changed on Monday night, effectively evicting the nurses. "We had gathered at the premises (within the SMC) to plan a party to celebrate the release of our colleague. We were there till around 10pm and finalised arrangements for the party.
"However, when we reached there a few hours before the event, we found we could not get in. We were told a team from the maintenance section had been ordered to change all the locks on the building.
"When I called Mr Al Sa'ati, he said we had been evicted from the premises. He said he was not ready to give any reason. I tried to reason with him, but he did not listen."
She said since all members' records and contacts were inside the building, no-one could be informed.
"We had to wait at the place for a long time and individually inform all members as they came. And we did this in the presence of a lot of policemen who had blocked all access to not only the building but also to the hospital. We felt as if we were criminals.
"We are nurses and not politicians. We are here to help the people and treat them in their hour of need. That is the nursing ethics. Mr Al Demestani has done nothing wrong. Why is he being treated in such a way? And why are all the nurses being treated as criminals?
"Our premises were given to us by the Prime Minister in 2003."
Dr Al Sa'ati refused to comment, saying the GDN should address all questions in writing to his office. He said he would not answer any queries on the phone after what he claimed was the GDN's biased reporting on a series of sickle cell deaths at the SMC.
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