Bahraini protesters have once again taken to the streets to express their resentment over the continued detention of the Persian Gulf kingdom’s leading opposition figure and Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman.
Demonstrators held a rally in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated about 12 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the capital, Manama, following Friday prayers, demanding the release of Salman, who heads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
The marchers, carrying portraits of Salman and Bahrain’s national flags, also censured a recent four-year jail term against the 49-year-old al-Wefaq leader as politically tainted, stressing that the Bahraini nation will never bow to injustice and tyranny, and protesters will press ahead with their drive to restore the rights of people.
Similar demonstrations were also staged in other parts of Bahrain, including Bilad al-Qadeem suburb of the capital, Manama, where people censured the latest verdict against Salman, calling for his freedom.
Moreover, Bahraini protesters held rallies in the villages of Nuwaidrat, Shahrkan and Malkiya as well as Shakhoreh neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital to protest the torture of prisoners at Al Khalifa regime’s detention facilities.
The demonstrators hurled petrol bombs at regime forces, with the latter firing tear gas canisters and bird shots.
There are reports that Bahraini security forces detained at least 10 local residents in Shahrkan.
Salman was detained on December 28, 2014 on charges of ‘attempting to overthrow the incumbent regime and collaboration with foreign powers.’ He has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.
On June 16, a Bahraini court sentenced Salman to four years in prison on charges such as insulting the Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted of seeking regime change.
The Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) had renewed calls on the Manama regime to immediately release the al-Wefaq leader on June 5.
Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
The ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful demonstrations has left scores of Bahrainis dead and hundreds of others injured.