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Sitting down for their rights
Bahrain Created: 30 Dec 2009
A VIGILANTE Bahraini family yesterday physically stopped a mobile telecoms mast being erected near their home - by sitting on it.

Briton Irene Ramsey, her Bahraini husband Mansoor Al A'ali and their son Falah sat on the main frame of the mast and refused to move, stopping workmen from hoisting it into place with a crane.

Ms Ramsey, of Hamad Town, said the mast first appeared at their next-door neighbour's house before the National Day holiday last week.

"The work started about 10 days ago but at that time we had it stopped," she explained.

"I didn't see anything else happening over the holidays and there was nothing earlier this week but today, they came back and were trying to put up the mast.

"I went outside and sat on the frame and told them that I wasn't moving.

"They already had the clips of the crane in place at that stage and they said it didn't matter what I did because they were just following instructions to do the job.

"The workers were actually apologetic but it's not their fault, they are just doing what they were told and they didn't want to lose their jobs."


The land on which the mast was due to be erected is owned by an Arab whom Ms Ramsey claims is refusing to co-operate, or even come out of his house to talk to them.

"I met him at the police station last week when we went to make the complaint and he asked me 'Why are you doing this?'," she said.

"I told him I am doing this for the health of my children and his children and that doesn't have a price.

"He is now staying inside the house and won't speak to us about it anymore."

Ms Ramsey headed for the courts yesterday morning, on the advice of the police, in an attempt to halt any further work at the site, with Falah taking her perch on the mast.

She was told she could not register an official complaint because the property was in her husband's name - but shortly after she got home, the mast was removed.

"They just loaded everything back up onto the lorry and moved off," said Ms Ramsey.

Yesterday's incident is the latest twist in a campaign against telecom firms putting up such masts in residential neighbourhoods.

Last month, angry protesters set up camp outside Hamad Town MP Jawad Fairooz's house for several days, after a similar mast was erected on his property.

The GDN reported at the end of September that municipal councils were planning to dismantle all mobile phone masts that had been put up without their permission.

However, they backed down after the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) agreed to come up with new procedures for erecting masts and aerials on rooftops in three months.

The TRA and municipal bodies will then review existing sites without permits before informing operators to remove structures that do not comply with the new rules.

Councillors have claimed telecom companies are paying up to BD1,000 a month to erect mobile phone masts on people's roofs without permission. Bahrain's 2002 Telecommunications Law states telecom companies can construct installations on private property if an agreement is reached with building owners. However, the Building Regulation Law of 1977 states that landowners require municipality consent to modify any building. It was unclear which telecoms company was responsible for the mast.
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Source: Gulf Daily News, tom hanratty, 25 Dec 2009

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