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Bahrainis rally in support of hunger striking prisoners

Undated picture shows Bahrainis holding up placards and pictures during a protest in support of hundreds of hunger striking inmates at the island's Jau prison.

Bahrainis have taken to the streets throughout the island in solidarity with hundreds of prisoners, who have gone on hunger strike at a notorious jail.

The rallies were held on Thursday. The participants were seen chanting slogans and holding up placards bearing statements in support of the inmates at the kingdom's Jau prison.

A similar rally was held in front of the kingdom's Embassy in Berlin.

Earlier in the month, it was reported that the prisoners had launched the protest action in condemnation of ill-treatment and unfair confinement conditions at the prison.

Two prison blocks at Jau started their hunger strike on August 7, while three others joined them a day later, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a UK-based exiled activist with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said at the time.

A number of the prisoners have reportedly lost consciousness as a result of the protest action.

In a statement published by Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the prisoners said they had started the hunger strike over prison officials preventing inmates from worshipping and subjecting them to 23-hour-long daily lockdowns.

Also on Thursday, Bahrain's most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim demanded that the entirety of the country's people start lending support to the prisoners.

"The prisoners have made sacrifice down the path of freedom, and have been committed to prison for the same reason," read a statement by the cleric.

Al-Wefaq has called on the Bahrainis to answer the prisoners’ call for a sit-in in support of them on Friday.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began on February 14, 2011. The participants demand that the ruling Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow the establishment of a just system that represents all Bahrainis.

The Manama regime has, however, responded to demands for social equality with an iron fist, clamping down on voices of dissent.

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