Bahrain

Protesters at king’s speech attacked in Bahrain

Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have attacked hundreds of protesters censuring an annual speech by the king, which had praised forces of the country.

The demonstrators took to the streets in several villages near Manama on Sunday, despite a ban imposed by the Al Khalifa regime on protest.

Bahraini forces fired teargas canisters and birdshot to disperse the demonstrators.

In his speech, delivered earlier in the day to mark the Bahrain National Day, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa praised the country’s “armed, security, and National Guard forces who are always ready” to ensure “security and stability.”

Demonstrators shouted slogans against the Al Khalifa family and called for the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the king’s uncle, who has retained his post for decades.

Inspired by popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrainis launched a revolution against the ruling regime in mid-February 2011.

The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring Persian Gulf states to assist the campaign of suppression.

Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.

A report, published in November 2011 by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which had been established by the monarch himself on June 29 that year, found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters.

The protesters say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically-elected government is met.

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