Around 10,000 followers of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood after Friday prayers over the situation in Bahrain, which risks exacerbating Iraq’s own sectarian divide.
The Iraqis waved Bahraini and Iraqi flags and chanted “Yes, yes to Bahrain. No, no to the Saud family.”
“These protests are the beginning of support for the Bahraini people and if the Saudi and Bahraini rulers won’t respond, we will act, even if we are forced to go and be human shields,” said Muhanad al-Gharrawi, a Sadr aide in Sadr City.
Thousands of Shi’ites also took to the streets in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf and Iraq’s oil hub of Basra, calling for an end to violence in Bahrain.”
This is a sectarian war led by Saudi (Arabia). It is the beginning of the downfall of Saudi itself,” 39-year-old university graduate Ahmed Nour Addin, said in Basra.
As in Bahrain, Iraq’s Shi’ites form a majority that complained decades of oppression under a Wahabi ruling class, dominant throughout the Arab world.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his ruling Shi’ite bloc have condemned the deployment of Saudi troops.
Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who rarely intervenes publicly in politics, has called for Bahrain authorities to “stop using violence against unarmed citizens.”
Another senior Shi’ite cleric in Najaf, Basheer al-Najafi, announced on Friday that religious classes would be suspended for one day in solidarity with Bahrainis
Hundreds of Turkish people have taken to the streets in Istanbul after the Friday prayers to condemn the Saudi-backed Bahraini crackdown on anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
The Turkish demonstrators on Friday called on the Bahrain government to stop the use of force against peaceful protesters who are calling for more rights in the Persian Gulf State.
The protestors hold the US and its regional ally Israel responsible for the chaos in Bahrain. They asked why the US supported the Egyptian revolution, but have left the Bahrain people to die.
They believe that this is part of a plot to sow the seeds of conflict in the Muslim world.
“We arrange this protest to tell the people that the Saudi Arabian king is doing his best to start the conflict between Shia and Sunni. We are here to condemn this dishonest behavior,” a protester told Media.
The demonstrators also chanted slogans against the Bahraini and Saudi monarchies, and in support of Bahrain’s right to develop a form of governance that represents the people.
Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that no one should intervene in regional countries and the NATO member Turkey has been against military intervention in crisis-hit Libya.
Although Turkey’s Shia leader Selahattin Akgunuduz agrees with this principal, he told Press TV that when human rights are at stake perhaps some sort of intervention should be considered.
“Those dictators cannot make any progress by killing their own people,” Akgunuduz said.
Saudi Shi’ites marched in the kingdom’s oil-producing east Wednesday, demanding the release of prisoners and voicing support for Shi’ites in nearby Bahrain, an activist and witnesses said.
One Saudi Shi’ite activist said hundreds attended several protests including one in the eastern region’s main Shi’ite center, Qatif, to show their backing for Bahraini Shi’ites who are protesting against the Wahabi royal family.
Leading Saudi Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Hassan al-Saffar voiced “dismay over events in Bahrain — bloodshed, violation of sanctities and the intimidation of the people.”
“I appeal to (Gulf Arab) leaders … to act and call for an end to the bloodshed and violence in Bahrain and to make every effort to address the current crisis toward a dialogue and a political solution,” Saffar said in a statement.
The activist said there was a large number of anti-riot troops at the protests. “In Qatif, security shot in the air to disperse the protest,” he told Reuters.
A witness who declined to be identified said the Qatif march ended peacefully. “However there were shots fired in the air to disperse the crowds but the demo continued for about an hour and a half …
There were no injuries or detentions as far as I could see,” he said.”They were calling for freeing their prisoners and some were calling for civil society and more freedoms …
Some were also showing their solidarity for the people in Bahrain.”Demonstrators shouted slogans against the sending of joint regional Peninsula Shield forces to Bahrain by Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and the United Arab Emirates.
“People were demanding the withdrawal of the Peninsula force and called on Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Bahrain,” another witness said, adding that two police helicopters hovered above the demonstration.
Saudi Arabia’s minority Shi’ites complain of discrimination, saying they often struggle to get senior government jobs and benefits available to other citizens.The government of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that usually does not tolerate public dissent, denies the charges.
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, has escaped protests like those across the Arab world, but some dissent has built up as unrest has spread in neighboring Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman.
The Sunday gathering aimed to protest the violent oppression of Bahraini demonstrators, calling on the Bahraini and Yemeni rulers to stop killing people.
The protesters also chanted slogans in condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s invasion to Bahrain.
Similar protests were held outside the Bahraini Embassy on Thursday as well.
Earlier in the day, a number of Iranian protesters also gathered outside of the United Nations building in Tehran, demanding an end to the UN silence over the massacre of Bahraini citizens at the hands of Saudi and Bahraini security forces.
- Iran urges the Bahraini Diplomat to leave Iran – To Protest over Crackdown on its Citizens
- Pakistani’s Protest to show Solidarity with the Bahrain,Yemen , Libyan Revolution
- Bahrain’s Shias Vows to countinue their Struggle till freedom ,and ready for Martyrdom
- Grand Ayatollah Sistani condemns the Saudi and Bahrain’s force crackdown on Bahrain’s Shia , while Kuwait refuses to send troops
- Bahrain’s Govt recruiting Mercenaries from Pakistan , to crush Protesting Shia Citizens
- Atleast 5 Shia Martyred and Hundreds Injured after Wahabi Saudi Forces opened fire on Protesters in Bahrain