Bahrainis stage rally in support of senior Shia cleric

July 8, 2016 6:20 pm

Bahrainis attend a protest rally
against the revocation of the citizenship of top Bahraini Shia cleric
Sheikh Issa Qassim in Saar district, , on July 8, 2016.

Hundreds of people have
staged rallies across Bahrain to express solidarity with prominent
Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim and condemn the Al Khalifah
regime’s recent decision to strip him of his citizenship.

Bahrainis
took to the streets under the motto of “Friday of Sacrifice” in the
villages of Ma’ameer and Karzakan, the town of A’ali, and the islands of
Sitra and Nabih Saleh, holding up the portraits of the 79-year-old
spiritual leader of the main Shia opposition group, the al-Wefaq
National Islamic Society.
The protesters also carried placards reading “Stop sectarian violence in Bahrain”, and “We will only bow to God.”
Bahraini regime forces then intervened and fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowds.
Elsewhere in the town of al-Zahra, Bahraini troops raided a house and arrested two men in their early 20s.
Also
on Friday, Bahraini demonstrators attended a protest against the
revocation of Sheikh Qassim’s nationality outside his residence in the
village of Diraz near the capital Manama.

Bahrainis
attend a protest rally against the revocation of the citizenship of
Sheikh Issa Qassim outside his residence in the village of Diraz near
Manama on July 8, 2016.
The Al Khalifah
regime’s June 20 move against the distinguished Shia figure came less
than a week after Bahrain’s Justice Ministry suspended al-Wefaq and
dissolved the opposition Islamic Enlightenment Institution, whose
founder is Sheikh Qassim, and al-Risala Islamic Association.
Since
February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held
numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on
the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
In March that year,
troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — themselves
repressive Arab regimes — were deployed to the country to assist the
Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.
Scores
of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in
the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

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