Bahrain Wants to Buy More Tear Gas Canisters Than It Has People

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Oct. 23 2013 4:15 PM

Bahrain Wants to Buy More Tear Gas Canisters Than It Has People

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A Bahraini protester runs from tear gas and birdshot fired by riot police during clashes following the funeral of Ali Khalil Sabbagh in the village of Bani Jamrah, west of Manama, on Oct. 23, 2013.

Photo by Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images

The watchdog group Bahrain Watch has leaked a document from the country’s Interior Ministry that it says is a public tender for more than 1.6 million tear gas canisters, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 stun grenades. As the group points out, this is “more tear gas canisters than [Bahrain’s] entire population” of 1.3 million.

According to the group Physicians for Human Rights, more than 39 people have been killed since protests first erupted in the Gulf monarchy in 2011. The group called the kingdom’s use of the substance “unprecedented in the 100-year history of tear gas use against civilians.”

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Bahrain is estimated to have already used more than 2 million tear gas projectiles since 2011, or about 2,000 per day, many supplied by a company in South Korea.  

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

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