Bahraini people have staged anti-regime demonstrations across the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom in support of distinguished Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim, who recently had his citizenship removed by the Al Khalifah regime.
On Friday evening, protesters marched along streets in the northern villages of Barbar, Karbabad, Maqaba, Abu Saiba, al-Maqsha, the north-central Shakhura village, the western village of Shahrakan and elsewhere in the country, holding portraits of Sheikh Qassim and emphasizing that the 79-year-old clergyman is their “red line,” Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.
The protesters also censured the Bahraini regime over collaboration with Saudi Arabia, and demanded an end to the heavy-handed crackdown and persecution of Shia Muslims in Bahrain.
Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship on June 20. The decision came a week after they suspended Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, whose secretary general, Sheikh Ali Salman, himself a prominent Shia cleric, has been in prison since December 2014.
Regime officials also dissolved opposition al-Risala Islamic Association and Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim.
Anti-regime protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis since February 14, 2011, calling on the Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power. Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country in March that year to assist Manama in its crackdown on peaceful and pro-democracy rallies.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.