Hundreds of protesters have spent the night outside the home of Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim who was stripped of his citizenship on Monday.
A picture tweeted by Bahrain’s human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on Tuesday and accessible at https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB showed protesters sleeping outside the home in the village of Diraz near the capital Manama.
The Bahraini regime’s decision has raised fears of a further showdown between protesters and security forces in the tiny Persian Gulf island which is already the scene of regular protests.
On Monday, protesters took to the streets in Diraz to vent their anger as the decision against Sheikh Qassim was announced. Some of them wore white funeral shrouds to demonstrate their willingness to die for their cause.
In revoking Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship, Bahrain accused him of sowing “sectarianism and violence,” blaming him for the protests which have continued for years despite a heavy-handed crackdown on the island’s mostly Shia community.
The decision against Sheikh Qassim follows the suspension of Bahrain’s main opposition group, al-Wefaq, whose political chief Sheikh Ali Salman is serving a nine-year jail term on charges of inciting violence.
Home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising backed by majority Shias demanding greater civil and political rights from the Saudi-backed monarchy.