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Demonstrations Continue in Bahrain against ‘Sham’ Elections

Bahrainis staged fresh protest rallies in the Persian Gulf Arab country to condemn and boycott what they call sham parliamentary elections planned for next week.

Videos circulating online showed protesters in Saar, a residential town to the west of Manama and Sanabis, a village located in the suburbs of the capital, taking to the streets against the November 12 elections.

The protesters held demonstrations in solidarity with freedom of speech prisoners in Bahraini prisons.

They held photos of Bahrain’s most prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim and jailed opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman. They also held placards reading: “boycott election”, “your vote would upset martyrs”, and “boycotting elections is a religious duty.”

Despite tight restrictions imposed by the ruling Al Khalifa regime, protesters across Bahrain hold demonstrations on an almost daily basis to show their condemnation of the regime’s repressive policies.

Last month, Bahrain’s Shiite-led opposition groups including al-Wefaq movement said in a statement that they will boycott the parliamentary election as the vote is an attempt to establish “absolute rule in Bahrain.”

Last week, Isa Qassim dismissed the country’s elections, saying the ruling regime wants to maintain its grip on power and strengthen tyranny in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom through the ballot boxes.

People demand that the Al Khalifa regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any form of dissent.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) ran a photo exhibit displaying Al Khalifa crimes and suppression outside the historic Palais Wilson building in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is headquartered.

In an attempt to inform the world about Bahrain’s human rights violations, the exhibit displayed photos of political prisoners, and civil rights activists who are jailed or tortured to death in detention centers.

The photo exhibit was held concurrent with the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group’s examination of Bahrain’s human rights record on Monday.

In September, BCHR said in a report that Bahrain, under the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty, had the largest number of imprisoned rights activists, adding some 4,500 campaigners were being held behind bars across the country.

Political prisoners in Bahrain are subjected to various forms of torture, ill-treatment, and persecution, and the regime silences any opposing voice through detention, torture, and execution, it pointed out.

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