As the ruling Al Khalifa regime continues to crack down on human rights activists and opposition leaders in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, the protesters participate in a rallies in a show of support for political prisoners.
Protesters held rallies across the country on Friday evening under the banner “Friday of Prisoners’ Rage,” denouncing Bahraini authorities’ mistreatment of detained activists and their deplorable conditions in detention centers, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the villages of al-Malkiya, al-Maqsha, Southern Sehla, Diraz, Bu Quwah, and al-Dair, demonstrators waved Bahraini flags and chanted anti-regime slogans, demanding the inmates’ immediate release.
The participants held Bahrain’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, entirely responsible for the safety of political prisoners held in overcrowded prisons.
The coronavirus pandemic, according to protesters, has worsened the plight of the inmates, some of whom have died as a result of the extremely infectious respiratory disease.
Bahrainis also held similar protests in the villages of Abu Saiba, Shakhurah, al-Markh, Nuwaidrat, Shahrakan, and Tubli, as well as the towns of Salmabad and Sanad, holding up photos of their imprisoned loved ones and prominent opposition figures, including Zakia al-Barbouri, who was sentenced to five years in prison on February 6, 2019, and had her citizenship revoked in the same month.
Sheikh Isa Qassim, Bahrain’s most influential Shiite cleric, on Thursday, warned that political dissidents in Bahraini prisons face death and requested their immediate release.
The senior cleric called on the ruling Al Khalifa regime to choose between the deaths of the dissident inmates and their release in a statement carried by the Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website.
“One of the worst things the Bahraini government does is use prisoners as political bargaining, especially now that the coronavirus (pandemic) is attacking (Bahrain’s) prisons,” the senior cleric continued.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifa regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.