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Friday 19th of January 2018
code: 85680

Al-Khalifa forces attack pro-democracy demos in Bahrain

Bahraini regime forces engaged in clashes with separate groups of people protesting against the Al Khalifah regime’s ferocious crackdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the kingdom.

Dozens of people took to the streets in the village of Ma’ameer, situated about 15 kilometers South of the capital, Manama, carrying national flags and holding up pictures of those killed in the aftermath of the regime’s repressive measures.

The protesters chanted slogans against the ruling Al Khalifah regime as well as King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah, vowing to support distinguished cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Regime forces then intervened and fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. There were no reports of casualties or arrests.

Bahraini officials stripped Sheikh Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s dissolved opposition group al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, of his citizenship on June 20, 2016.

They later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by the 77-year-old cleric, in addition to the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

The Manama regime has pressed charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism” against Sheikh Qassim, who has strongly denied them.

Moreover, clashes broke out between a group of young protesters and regime forces in the village of Nuwaidrat, on Monday evening, with no reports of casualties available.

Elsewhere in Sheikh Qassim’s native village of Diraz, situated about 12 kilometers West of Manama, a large number of protesters staged a sit-in in protest at Al Khalifah regime’s measures against the prominent religious figure.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Maytham al-Salman, head of the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor (BHRM) Freedoms Unit, says discrimination against members of the Shia Muslim community is commonplace in Bahrain.

Speaking at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Salman pointed to the latest US State Department report on human rights in Bahrain, saying lack of transparency around official recruitment is prevalent in the kingdom.

He added that a number of multinational enterprises have even complained that they have been pressured by the Bahraini regime not to promote Shia employees, and that Shias cannot be hired to perform security tasks.

Anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama 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.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

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