The rally has taken place as Bahrainis brace for nationwide anti-government protests after the Friday prayers, upon a call by the country’s largest opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
According to Press TV, on Thursday night, protesters took to the streets of Barbar village in the north of Bahrain.
The first protest rally was hold last Saturday under the banner “Bahrain, homeland for all” in the village of Sar 10 days after a state of emergency was lifted.
Al-Wefaq leader cleric Sheikh Ali Salman told protesters on Friday that the opposition was not against dialogue with the government if rights interlocutor and officials were involved.
“The success of dialogue, reform and transition to democracy need officials that believe in it. One of the problems of the past was that many officials did not believe in democracy and reform,” AFP quoted Salman as saying to the crowds.
Similar protest rallies were also held in some other Bahraini villages and towns. Witnesses say regime forces fired teargas at protesters in Karzakan village, west of the country.
Meanwhile, regime officials have reportedly taken over the pages of Rasad News, a major source of news about human rights violations in the Middle Eastern country.
Several anti-government websites and chat room applications have also been blocked this month.
Bahraini opposition demands the release of detained anti-government protesters, the suspension of trials against opposition activist and a halt to the dismissal of students and workers before the beginning of the national dialogue set for July 1.
Thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging demonstrations in Bahrain since mid-February, demanding political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds, including doctors and journalists, were arrested in the Saudi-backed crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain.
Human rights groups and the families of protesters arrested during the crackdown say that most detainees have been physically and mentally abused, while the whereabouts of many of them still remains unknown.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have bitterly criticized Manama for its brutal crackdown on civilians.
Wedding set to re inforce the power of Disintegrating rule of Bahrain and Saudi royal families
Bahrain Official News website says the son of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the daughter of Saudi Arabia’s monarch have agreed to wed – just to boost ties between the Ruling families of both the Nations ,whose both the rules have been challenged by their citizens , against their Injust and Brutal rule , to further cementing ties boosted by cooperation to crush pro-reform protests.
An announcement on the official Bahrain News Agency says Bahrain’s Sheik Khalid bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa signed a marriage contract Thursday with the daughter of Saudi King Abdullah. The Friday report did not give the woman’s name or when the ceremony would occur, AP reported.
Such strategic family alliances are common among the Persian Gulf’s leaders.
Saudi Arabia is leading a Persian Gulf military force sent to Bahrain in March to help smother protests demanding greater rights.
Since mid-February, thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Bahrain have staged protests in the streets, calling for an end to Al Khalifa rule.
On March 13, Saudi-led forces were dispatched to the Persian Gulf island upon Manama’s request to quell the countrywide protests.
According to local sources, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested so far during the government clampdown on the peaceful demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Bahraini security forces have reportedly kidnapped several women, including doctors, university professors and students.
Human rights groups and the families of protesters arrested during the crackdown say that most detainees have been physically and mentally abused, while the whereabouts of many of them remain unknown.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized the Manama regime for its brutal crackdown on civilians.
Top Shia cleric denounces Al Khalifa rulers
Bahrain’s top Shia cleric denounced the kingdom’s Al Khalifa rulers for damaging the country and warned Friday that tension-easing dialogue cannot take place until authorities halt crackdowns used to crush protests demanding greater political rights.
The sermon by Sheik Isa Qassim is the latest signal that Shia leaders could snub appeals by Bahrain’s rulers for talks next month with opposition figures and others who began pro-reform demonstrations in February and then faced a withering backlash from security forces, AP reported.
Shias comprise about 70 percent of the population in the strategic nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. But Shiites claim widespread discrimination at the hands of the Western-backed Sunni monarchy.
“The reactions of the security forces result in damaging the country, but the people are patient and peaceful,” Sheik Qassim told worshippers in a mostly Shia area outside the capital Manama.
Bahrain’s ruling dynasty has proposed opening talks with opposition delegates July 1, but the outreach has met a cool reception from Shia leaders demanding that authorities roll back security measures and halt trials against activists and others on anti-state charges. At least 31 people have died in the unrest and hundreds have been detained.
In addition, the monarchy has been reinforced by a Saudi-led military force since March.
“We demand meaningful and real reforms that guarantee the rights of people,” said Sheik Qassim. “There is no reform when our people are in jail, dismissed from jobs, religious ceremonies attacked and media sponsored by the state are spreading lies and misinformation.”
He added: “We have offered so many sacrifices and cannot back down and end up empty handed.”
Earlier this week on a visit to Bahrain, the State Department’s top rights official, Michael Posner, urged for talks but also expressed concern about reports of abuses against detainees accused of links to the protests.
Washington also added Bahrain to a list of alleged human rights offenders that includes Iran, North Korea and Syria.
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