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Shi'ite opposition leader returns to Bahrain

Shi'ite opposition leader returns to Bahrain
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A hardline Shi’ite dissident has returned home to Bahrain from exile to join the burgeoning opposition to the island kingdom’s Sunni royal family.

London-based Hassan Mushaimaa is the leader of the Haq movement. He was tried in his absence over an alleged coup plot but received a pardon as part of the ruling family’s concessions.

“The talk about change and reforms should not be just patchy,” he said on his arrival at Manama.

“We have to have real change or the people have to carry on (protesting). The demands are up to the people on the ground who died there and faced everything.”

Pearl Square remains the focus of opposition protests. But today thousands marched on the former prime minister’s residence to call for the removal of a man who has been in his post for 40 years.

This week, the government freed more than 300 people detained since a crackdown on Shi’ite unrest in August. The cabinet has also been reshuffled in another sop to the opposiition. But neither move appears likely to end widespread protests.