Middle East

Bahrainis stage rally in support of senior Shia cleric


Dozens of Bahrainis have staged a sit-in to express solidarity with prominent Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who was recently stripped of his citizenship by the Al Khalifah regime.

Protesters converged outside Sheikh Qassim’s residence in the northwestern village of Diraz Saturday evening to voice their strong opposition to Manama’s decision on June 20 to revoke his nationality, saying the cleric is their “red line.”

The move against Sheikh Qassim came less than a week after Bahrain’s Justice Ministry suspended main Shia opposition group al-Wefaq National Society

The regime also dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim, and al-Risala Islamic Association.

Separately, people held overnight demonstrations in the island of Sitra and the nearby Nuwaidrat village late Saturday to stress their determination to press ahead with peaceful protests.
Bahrainis throw stones at regime forces during an anti-regime protest in the northeastern village of Nuwaidrat early on July 3, 2016.

Violence broke out when regime forces attacked the protesters, firing tear gas canisters and bird shots to disperse the marchers. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Bahrainis mourn woman killed in bombing

Also on Saturday, scores of people took part in a mass funeral for 42-year-old Fakhriya Msallam Ahmed Hasan, who was killed in a bomb attack targeting her car in village of East Eker, south of the capital, last Thursday.

Bahraini regime forces prevented the mourners from burying the woman’s body in the cemetery in Diraz, ordering her relatives to transfer her corpse to another location for burial.

The village has been placed under a lockdown for nearly a fortnight in the wake of the regime’s decision to revoke Sheikh Qassim’s nationality.
People take part in a mass funeral in the village of Diraz on July 2, 2016 for 42-year-old Fakhriya Msallam Ahmed Hasan, who was killed in a bomb attack.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) called for an “impartial” investigation into the fatal attack against Hasan, saying there were conflicting narratives regarding the incident as well as accusations of responsibility.

Following the blast, Bahraini opposition activists said security forces opened fire on the woman’s car after she accidentally drove into a royal convoy.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been 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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