Authorities in Bahrain are seeking to procure more than 1.6m cannisters of tear gas, leaked documents show, as the Gulf state attempts to control a two-and-a-half year old popular uprising.
The order, which also includes flash and sound grenades, is larger than the islands entire population, which is just 1.2m people.
Tender documents for the items, dated June this year, were leaked by activist website StopTheShipment.org and are stamped with the emblem of Bahrain's Ministry of Interior. The website says that so far more than 30,000 people have emailed the Bahraini government in response to the disclosure, demanding that the order be halted.
Bahrain has been rocked by severe civil unrest since early 2011, with activists claiming that violence between demonstrators and the island's security forces has so far killed 80 people.
According to US-based lobbyist group Physicians for Human Rights, use of tear gas has played a role in close to half of these deaths.
"Tear gas is being used in an indiscriminate, inappropriate and lethal way. The US should publicly oppose all sales of tear gas to Bahrain while it is being abused by the police," commented Brian Dooley, a spokesperson for another activist group, Human Rights First.
Chemical and defence firms DaeKwang, CNO Tech, and Rheinmetall Denel are said to be the largest exporters of tear gas to Bahrain.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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