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As 10th Anniversary Nears, Bahrainis Take To Streets Calling For Democracy, Prisoners Release

Saturday 2 January 2021
As 10th Anniversary Nears, Bahrainis Take To Streets Calling For Democracy, Prisoners Release

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Alwaght- As Bahrain nears the 10th anniversary of its popular uprising in February 2011, some parts of the small island kingdom became a scene of protests in support of the imprisoned leader of the opposition movement and the uprising, Sheik Ali Salman. 

On Wednesday, residents of Al Dair village took to the streets to support ongoing peaceful demonstrations of people supporting Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of Al-Wifaq National Islamic Society who has been in the regime’s prison for over six years, chanting against the Al-Khalifa ruling regime. 

In a statement, the protesters asserted, “We have received your latest message and tell you that we, God Willing, will remain loyal to you and save our resolution like hard steel. God Willing, you will be freed soon to lead the protests and realize the popular demands which are a new constitution and constitutional kingdom based on the separation of powers. We are confident that these such would certainly come. With the hope of support from God to our oppressed people, we today arranged the rallies with the leadership of Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassem.” 

During a phone call on December 27 made from Jau central prison, Sheikh Salman made clear that he would continue the path he walked in support of the uprising and the people. 

“I am not regretful. I do not regret being in prison for six years walking in the path of obedience of the God and support of the oppressed,” he was quoted as saying. 

Sheikh Ali Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014. He leads the major opposition Shiite movement Al-Wifaq and is a key opposition figure. After six years, popular demands for his freedom remain strong as the people remember the symbol of their uprising. 

Commenting on the Wednesday protests, Al-Wifaq’s Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Hussein Al-Daihi said that the Bahraini people will never accept humiliation and submission. The regime in the country does not approve of voices calling for justice, freedom, and democracy. It made charges against Sheikh Salman to close the mouths of pro-reform protestors. This regime has compromised to the fake Zionist regime to bully its own people and cover its weakness while the world knows that Bahraini people’s demands are fair and right and there are efforts to give a solution from Bahrain itself. 

Highlighting the need for the international community to shoulder its responsibility towards the Bahraini people, he held that the Al-Khalifa opposition will not quit their push for reformation of the country. The solution is the release of Sheikh Salman from prison. He is an advocate of right and insists on continuing his path. 

At the same time, Radhi Mousawi, the former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society (Waad), said that the continued imprisonment of Sheikh Ali Salman hampers political solution to the crisis in the country. The only way out of the crisis is the evacuation of the prisons from the prisoners. 

“To find a solution to our issue, we rely on ourselves, not on the foreigners. If the intents for reaching a solution are expressed seriously, the people of Bahrain can solve their problems alone. What is taking place is the imposition of a policing government and approval of the normalization project against our national interests. The opposition commits to reaching a solution to the crisis with peace.” 

But Al-Khalifa regime’s response to the reconciliatory demands by the protestors over the past decade has not changed and it constantly used crackdown and intensified security pressures.

Last month, the Voice of Manama website reported that the Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights warned against the continuation of gross violation of the human rights in the country by Al-Khalifa. 

The statement by the two rights groups also warned about the marginalization of the citizens, dissolution of political and legal institutions, revocation of the nationality of hundreds of citizens, deprivation of thousands of citizens of their political rights like candidacy for elections, and unfair execution rulings against the prisoners of conscience. 

Meanwhile, the political prisoners’ situation has now become much worse than before. In addition to Sheikh Salman, Haq Movement’s secretary-general Hasan Mushaima and activists like Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Abdulwahab Hussein, Abduljalil al-Sankis, and Nabil Rajab are eminent political prisoners. Al-Khalifa regime also stripped off citizenship of the spiritual leader of Bahraini Shiites Sheikh Issa Qassem and thus forced him out of the country. 

Rights groups specially warned about the health of elderly and ill political prisoners including Mushaima and al-Khawaja. 

The security and health conditions in Bahrain’s hospitals are inappropriate and earlier reported emerged about the spread of contagious diseases in them. Lack of proper sanitary facilities poor medical care and unhygienic conditions have led to an outbreak of Scabies, the highly infectious skin disease, among over half of detainees at Jau as the largest prison in the country and also Al-Hawdh Al-Jaf detention center in December 2019 and January 2020. 

Also, while coronavirus motivated many countries to free the prisoners as a preventive measure to cut the risks, the Al-Khalifa regime has so far refused to release the political and rights prisoners. 

It seems that in the coming weeks as much as the Bahrainis prepare themselves for the anniversary of their historic uprising, Al-Khalifa steps up security pressures especially on the opposition leaders.

 

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Bahrain Uprising Protests Sheikh Salman Crackdown. Al Khalifa

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