Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have staged a rally in the capital Manama, protesting against what they called repression against the opposition amid an ongoing crackdown on the largely peaceful demonstrations.
Protesters waved the country’s national flag and chanted slogans on Friday, demanding that the detained opposition activists be freed. In a statement, the opposition denounced “the continuing arrests, political trial and discrimination” against Shiites.
Also, the number of the arrested Shiites has grown in recent months, the opposition said. The march took place in the Shiite area of the capital, Bilad al-Qadim.
In the latest case, on Monday 17 Shiite activists had their appeals against sentences of up to 15 years rejected, after being convicted of attacking the security forces.
In October, the authorities
closed an exhibition dedicated to the
anti-government uprising and shut down the display, which was
organized by the main opposition group Al-Wefaq. The group also
staged the latest rally.
In August, the country’s leader, King Hamad, attempted to ban
demonstrations in Manama.
During Friday’s march the opposition, led by the Shiite Al-Wefaq movement, claimed the government had not implemented the recommendations of a commission that looked into violence in the spring of 2011.
The investigation was carried out in the autumn of 2011, and
concluded that it was mainly Shiite protesters that were targeted
during the crackdown.
The report concludes that “force and firearms were used in an excessive manner that was, on many occasions, unnecessary, disproportionate, and indiscriminate.”
The latest protest in the capital comes at the same time as the press conference dedicated to the anniversary of the investigation.
It was also confirmed by numerous international human rights
organizations that the Bahraini government used systematic
torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse on
Over 80 people have been killed in the crackdown since the protests began almost three years ago, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.