TEHRAN, May 29, YJC - Bahraini regime forces have clashed with demonstrators rallying in solidarity with a prominent Shia cleric and his slain supporters in several areas across the kingdom.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Troops attacked peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Sitra Island and chanted slogans against King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah on Sunday night.
The protesters held the monarch responsible for recent crimes committed by his forces in the northwestern village of Diraz where several protesters were killed during a raid of Sheikh Isa Qassim's home.
On May 23, police raided Diraz, which has been under a military siege for almost a year, and stormed the home of the spiritual leader of Bahrain's Shia majority.
At least five demonstrators were killed and dozens more injured during the crackdown which also saw more than 280 people arrested.
The fresh wave of anti-regime protests broke out on May 21, when a Bahraini court sentenced Sheikh Qassim to one year in jail and ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines.
Last year, the cleric was also stripped of his citizenship, which sparked repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.
Also on Sunday, demonstrators staged a protest in support of Sheikh Qassem in Saar residential area, west of Manama, calling for the punishment of those behind the killing of activists.
Al Khalifah regime forces rushed to attack the peaceful protesters, firing toxic gases to disperse them.
Similar protests were also held in Bilad Al Qadeem town and the villages of Shahrkan, Samaheej, Bani Jamra, Musalla, Karranah, Karzakan, Karbabad, Daih and Sanabis late on Sunday.
The developments come as the fate of Sheikh Qassem remains unknown amid reports that the regime wanted to send him to exile either in Turkey or the United Arab Emirates after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected such a request in a show of support for the Shia leader.
Bahrainis also held a symbolic funeral for the slain activists in the villages of Abu Saiba and Shakhora, calling for those responsible for the crimes to be held accountable.
The five victims were buried on Friday without their families’ permission in a move denounced by the victim’s relatives as a crime.
"The martyrs' families announce that depriving them from burying their sons in accordance with their wish can be construed as a crime which will be added to the first crime of liquidating them in the field," the families said in a statement.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in early February 2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
The Manama regime has spared no effort to clamp down on dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist Manama in its crackdown.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured or arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.