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Protesters demand pull-out of US naval forces from Bahrain

Protesters take part in a rally in the Bahraini capital Manama on May 18, 2018, demanding the immediate withdrawal of US marines from the Persian Gulf kingdom. (Photo by Arabic-language Lualua television network)

Thousands of people have staged demonstrations across Bahrain, demanding the immediate withdrawal of American marines from the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom and closure of the US naval base there.

The protesters took to the streets in the capital Manama on Friday evening, carrying placards reading “Leave Our Land” and shouting slogans in condemnation of Washington’s support for the ruling Al Khalifah regime.

The demonstrators also condemned the recent massacre of dozens of Palestinians during anti-occupation protest rallies along the border between the Gaza Strip and occupied territories, and stepped on the images of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Similar rallies were held in the villages of Abu Saiba, Shakhurah, al-Daih, Karbabad and Buri.

At least 64 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 others wounded near the Gaza fence on Monday on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds.

The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Trump on December 6, 2017, announced Washington's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and said the US would move its embassy to the city.

The dramatic decision triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the world. The status of Jerusalem al-Quds is the thorniest issue in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.   

Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.

Bahrain has been a key ally of the United States for decades and is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

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