The centre of the Bahraini capital Manama has been filled with thousands of demonstrators calling for the government’s downfall – and to remember the victims of the past week’s violence.
Many majority Shi’ite Muslims claim they are the victims of long-term discrimination by the ruling Sunni elite.
Joining the protest was a small group of army and police officers, conscious that the military firing on protesters had contributed to the death toll of seven.
“We decided that our job is to protect people and not to beat them up,” said policeman Abu Noah. “The weapons that have been used against the people are weapons of shame, these weapons should be used to protect the people, and not be used against them. That’s why we’ve decided to be with the people.”
A key test will be the impact of the return from exile of a leading opposition figure, Hassan Mushaimaa of the Haq movement, one of a group of 25 on trial over an alleged coup plot.
“These peaceful Muslim people are coming today to raise the flag of the homeland,” said Sheikh Hussein Al-Deehi, deputy head of another opposition group, the Shi’ite Al-Wefaq Society. “We’ve been asking for freedom for decades and we’ve been denied it. We’ve lost blood but we’ll keep struggling, God willing.”
The royal family has offered concessions – announcing the release of some convicted prisoners for example – but it is not clear whether such moves will be enough to get opposition groups to agree to talks.
They have repeated demands for a constitutional monarchy to replace Bahrain’s ruling dynasty.
Latest world news
A leading German politician says the country’s mosques should come under state control
Will Michel Platini be back in charge for Euro 2016?
Air strike on Kunduz hospital ‘not a war crime’ says US military report
Lisbon is a no-go, taxis on a go-slow
The United Nations appeals to save the truce and negotiations in Syria
Wires > News
- 01:51 CET Oil rig helicopter crashes off Norway coast, 13 presumed dead
- 00:44 CET Six-storey building collapses as floods hit Kenyan capital, three…
- 00:10 CET Britain praises Cuba’s Castro for embracing realities of modernity
- 23:29 CET ‘Monstrous’ violence in Syria as government excludes Aleppo from…
- 23:12 CET Russian fighter did barrel roll over U.S. reconnaissance plane -…
- 21:30 CET China denies Hong Kong visit request by U.S. carrier group -…
- 21:14 CET Iran moderates eye more gains in run-off parliamentary election
- 20:14 CET Lavrov, Kerry discuss ways to strengthen Syria ceasefire – Russian…