Bahraini people have staged fresh protest rallies in the capital, Manama, to slam a jail sentence recently handed down to prominent Shia opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.
According to local media reports, the Bahrainis held a massive demonstration in the al-Musalla area of the capital on Saturday, condemning the imprisonment of Salman, who is the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, as well as other political activists in Bahrain.
The demonstrators reportedly carried placards and chanted slogans to call for the immediate release of Salman and other political prisoners.
The demonstrators also urged democratic reforms in the Persian Gulf Arab state.
A similar protest rally was held in the area of al-Nuwaidrat in the capital, with the participants reiterating calls for the freedom of all prisoners, especially religious figures.
Clashes reportedly erupted between Bahraini security forces and the protesters. The regime forces used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. There has been no report of the casualties in the incident.
On June 16, a Bahraini court sentenced Salman to four years in prison on charges including insulting the Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted on charges of seeking regime change.
The 49-year-old senior Shia cleric, who was detained on December 28, 2014, however, has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in his country through peaceful means.
Salman said following the court ruling that he would press ahead with his peaceful drive to champion the rights of the people, urging Bahrainis to keep on holding demonstrations to demands their rights.
Since mid-February 2011, anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power. Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others wounded as a result of the ongoing violent crackdown on peaceful rallies in Bahrain.