Regime forces in Bahrain have attacked demonstrators protesting against the execution by Saudi Arabia of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr.
On Sunday, large crowds of angry protesters took to the streets of several villages and towns located on suburbs of the Bahraini capital, Manama. Violent clashes erupted as the Bahraini regime forces used tear gas and buckshot to disperse the demonstrators, who were carrying pictures of the cleric.
According to the state-run Bahrain News Agency, BNA, several people, among them minors who took part in protests, were arrested by the regime.
Meanwhile, a Bahrain interior ministry official has confirmed that a number of activists who took to social media to condemn the execution of Sheikh Nimr by Saudi monarchy have been detained by the Manama regime forces.
Also on Saturday, violent clashes erupted between protesters and Bahraini regime forces in Sitra, located about 12 kilometers (seven miles) southeast of Manama. Fierce clashes were also reported across several villages in and around Manama.
Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr has drawn a series of protests across the Persian Gulf region over the past two days. Activists in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia have called for more mass rallies in the coming days to vent their anger at the ongoing crackdown against Shia Muslims.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power. Hundreds of troops from Saudi Arabia have been deployed to Bahrain in an attempt to curb the protests and popular uprising.
Meanwhile, Turkish demonstrators, holding pictures of Sheikh al-Nimr, gathered outside the Saudi embassy in the capital, Ankara, to denounce the execution of the prominent cleric. They accused the Riyadh regime of fueling a deliberate sectarian conflict by executing Sheikh Nimr and other Shia activists.
Shia Muslims around the world have also staged large protest rallies to show their anger at the execution of Sheikh Nimr, with many governments and prominent human rights groups also condemning the execution and voicing concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
Early on Saturday, Nimr was executed alongside 46 other people, whom the kingdom’s Interior Ministry said had been found guilty of involvement in “terrorism.”
Sheikh Nimr had been arrested in 2012 in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Shia-majority Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time. He had been charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected the charges as baseless.
In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced the clergyman to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. Back then, the UK-based rights body Amnesty International called the sentence “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed since it was politically motivated.
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