People in Bahrain have staged nationwide demonstrations in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to express solidarity with pro-democracy campaigners and opposition figures being held behind bars, and demanded the ruling Al Khalifah regime release them amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The rallies were held under the banner of “Friday of Prisoners’ Rage,” with protesters voicing concerns over the alarming situation of the country’s prisons and condemning Bahraini authorities’ mistreatment of imprisoned activists.
The participants carried Bahrain’s national flags, held up pictures of imprisoned political opponents and called for their immediate and unconditional release as they staged rallies in several villages, namely Hamala, Abu Saiba, Shakhura, South Sehla, Nuwaidrat, Bu Quwah, Samaheej, Diraz, Karzakan, Bani Jamra, al-Markh, Dar Kulaib and al-Maqsha.
People also took part in similar demonstrations in Sitra Island and Bilad al-Qadeem suburb of the capital Manama, chanting anti-regime slogans and holding the Al Khalifah regime fully responsible for the lives of the political inmates.
On April 19, Bahrain’s most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim said drawing up a new constitution was the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit tiny kingdom, urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing the dissidents.
“Since the people do not find anything to persuade themselves to stop their protest movement and are witnessing a surge in the [regime’s] policy of repression, dictatorship and marginalization, they are pressing ahead with their uprising, whatever the cost may be,” Sheikh Qassim said in a statement carried by the Bahrain Mirror news website.
“There would be no way out of the current situation unless the government reaches an agreement with the opposition to draw up a new constitution and found relevant institutions so as to protect the citizens’ rights and recognize their sovereign position in the country’s politics,” the senior cleric pointed out.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah 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 sign of dissent.
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 the imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.
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