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Bahrainis rally in support of Sheikh Qassim



Bahraini people have held fresh anti-regime protest rallies across the kingdom in support of prominent Shia opposition cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim ahead of his trial session.

On Thursday evening, the protesters took to the streets throughout the country, including in the capital, Manama, the village of Sanabis in the capital’s countryside, and the island of Sitra in eastern Bahrain.

The demonstrators also continued a sit-in protest on al-Fada’ Square in Qassim’s native village of Diraz, which been under siege by regime forces for months.

Last year, Bahraini authorities dissolved the main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, to which Qassim used to serve as a devoted mentor. They also took away Qassim’s citizenship, accusing him of serving foreign interests and promoting sectarianism and violence.

A vocal critic of the government, Sheikh Qassim has denied the allegations. He has been siding with opposition activists since anti-regime protests started sweeping the country in 2011.

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A trial session had been scheduled for earlier in the month, but was postponed to February 26 amid fears of a surge in popular outrage.

Also on Thursday, the protesters honored the memory of young pro-democracy campaigner Abdullah al-Ajouz, an activist who was recently killed by Manama’s forces.

Ajouz was arrested in a raid on the village of Nuwaidrat, located about 10 kilometers south of Manama, on Monday. An informed source said the victim had sustained a number of gunshots before regime forces took him away.

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