Bahrainis rally to protest assault on Shia cleric
People have taken to the streets in the central Bahraini city of Sitra to protest the brutal assault by the Al Khalifa regime forces against a prominent Shia cleric.
Bahrainis staged a rally in solidarity with Sheikh Ali Hafsay, who was attacked and beaten by the regime forces during an anti-government protest in Sanabis region on Wednesday.
The attack seriously damaged the cleric’s eyes, according to reports.
The Al Khalifa regime had earlier warned Sheikh Hafsay that he would face prison if he continued his support for the Bahraini revolution.
“I will never abandon the revolution until I achieve victory or martyrdom. I cannot leave Bahrainis alone and rest at home,” the cleric stated following the incident.
The main opposition party, the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, condemned the attack as part of the regime’s systematic crackdown on Shia clerics in a bid to silence the Bahrainis’ voice.
The demonstration follows weeks of protests over the detention of al-Wefaq Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman.
Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014 after Manama accused him of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers, charges that Salman and his party have vehemently denied.
Al Khalifa continues crackdown
A court in Bahrain has also sentenced Mahdi al-Ekri, a senior al-Wefaq member, to six months in jail. Ekri was arrested after participating in peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Manama, demanding the release of Salman.
Two Bahraini minors were also arrested due to their previous participation in anti-regime protests.
Bahrain, a close ally of the United States in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Bahraini forces have killed scores of activists over the past years of uprising, while hundreds of protesters as well as notable opposition figures continue to remain under arrest in the regime’s notorious prisons.