Anti-regime protesters poured into the streets in Sitra, Mahaza, and Eker following the Friday Prayers upon a call by al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition group.
Al-Wefaq is currently in talks with Bahraini authorities as part of the so-called “national dialogue.” The opposition group agreed to participate in talks with the government after the Bahraini king said he would set up an independent inquiry into the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The opposition bloc, however, says it will shun sessions on economy and social issues, saying the talks should focus on political and security issues.
“We will boycott the meetings of the economic and social committees but will continue to attend the meetings of the political and rights committees,” a leading member of the Islamic National Accord Association (al-Wefaq), Khalil al-Marzooq, told AFP.
Meanwhile, al-Wefaq says participants in the dialogue effort do not fairly represent society and those participating are not being given a chance to speak during the sessions.
It also says that only about 50 of the 300 people the government invited for talks are from the opposition and the rest, are from pro-government civil and political societies and business leaders and anything agreed there could be overturned by the appointed upper house of parliament, the Shura Council.
“This dialogue will not lead to a solution… and it does not fulfill the needs to pull Bahrain out of its political crisis,” Marzooq said.
The opposing bloc, however, has threatened to pull out of the dialogue if it fails to address “the will of the people” including a fully elected Parliament with complete legislative powers.
Only the leaders from two of the opposition groups, al-Wefaq and al-Waad, are participating in the negotiations as other opposition leaders remain in custody.
All 18 al-Wefaq members of Parliament resigned in February to protest against the government’s brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
Since mid-February Bahraini protesters are holding anti-government protests demanding an end to the rule of Al Khalifa dynasty which they say has instituted despotic governance, discrimination, and the suppression of any dissent.
The US-backed regime has met the popular protests with a brutal crackdown, killing scores and arresting hundreds.
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