Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thousands join peaceful protest in Bahrain

Anti-government protesters are demanding the release of prisoners in the first permitted demonstration since June.


"Tens of thousands of people chanting anti-government slogans and holding up pictures of jailed activists have taken part in Bahrain's first authorised opposition protest since June.

No clashes occurred at Friday's march along a three kilometre stretch of a highway west of the capital Manama.

Protesters carried Bahraini flags and held up images of rights activist and protest leader Nabeel Rajab, calling for his release.

Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based, has been in crisis since a revolt led by majority Shia Muslims began 18 months ago to demand democracy in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bahrain, journalist Reem Khalifa said that since protests started, "It has never been quiet ... especially in the over-populated Shia areas".

"Every day there is tension in various areas around the island,” Khalifa said.

The government has denounced the protest movement, inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, as sectarian.

This claim denied by protesters who say they face discrimination from the ruling Sunni minority....."

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