Bahraini people stage fresh anti-regime protests
Bahraini demonstrators have once again taken to the streets of the tiny Persian Gulf country to express their solidarity with detained political activists, including senior Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman.
The protesters staged rallies in Diraz village after Friday prayers, calling for the immediate release of Sheikh Salman, who heads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, as well as all political detainees.
Sheikh Salman was detained on December 28, 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the ruling Al Khalifah regime and collaborating with foreign powers. He has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.
In June 2015, a Bahraini court sentenced him to four years in prison on charges such as insulting the Bahraini Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted of seeking regime change.
During the Friday rallies, the demonstrators also stressed that they would continue peaceful protests for the fulfillment of their democratic demands.
They also condemned corruption in the country and the government’s economic policies that overburden the citizens.
Similar protests also took place in Nuwaidrat village where security forces fired toxic gas at peaceful demonstrators.
Separately, the al-Khalifah regime’s forces fired toxic gas at defied residents who staged protest rallies in Sitra Island to condemn Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of top cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
On Thursday, the wife of Sheikh Salman said that the authorities have banned all phone calls and visits to the jailed cleric.
Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
The ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful demonstrations has left scores of people dead and hundreds injured, and many more behind bars.