Pearl Square in the centre of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, remains besieged by people firmly intending to maintain their peaceful protest for change.
The King released 23 Shia political prisoners accused of terrorism yesterday, and again called for dialogue not protest, now that everyone’s voice was free to be heard.
The appeal has fallen on deaf ears. Some demonstrators seem set for a long haul.
“Some people set up some toilet cabins. They also brought food and many other things. Thank God everything is OK,” said one protester.
“We came here, leaving our wives and children behind, to achieve our demands. It’s the first time we spend the night outdoors.”
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has visited Saudi Arabia to welcome King Abdullah, who is returning from long medical treatment abroad. The Saudis are determined not to let Shia militancy spill over the border and ignite their minority.
Seven Bahraini opposition groups, including the powerful Shia Wefaq, called on protesters to “maintain their demands in a civilised and peaceful manner.” Wefaq’s Ibrahim Mattar said prisoner releases and allowing peaceful protest were “positive moves” but added the people want the royal family’s acceptance of a constitutional monarchy before entering a dialogue.