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Bahrain uses military tactics to quash dissent

Bahraini regime forces have stormed into the residence of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country's Shia majority in a northwestern village, arresting everyone inside the house. It is not yet clear whether Sheikh Qassim himself is among the detainees.

There have been reports of security forces firing birdshot at protesters and teargas into the house of the prominent cleric. Sources have confirmed at least two fatalities. Seven others are said to be in critical condition.

Bahrain's LuaLua TV reported on Tuesday that a large number of armored and military vehicles had entered a neighborhood in the Diraz Village earlier in the day.

The Manama regime's bulldozers were reportedly removing protesters' blockades and barricades from the streets.

The Bahraini Interior Ministry announced in a statement that security forces had arrested 50 demonstrators in the village.

Furthermore, the country's Islamic Action Society, also referred to as Amal Party, warned Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah against any assault on Sheikh Qassim.

Diraz is the native village of Sheikh Isa Qassim. It has been the scene of protests since last June, when the authorities stripped the cleric of his citizenship over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. He has denied the allegations.

The protests escalated after a court convicted Qassim on Sunday of the illegal collection of funds and money laundering and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years. The charges emanate from the collection of an Islamic donation called Khums, which in Shia Islam is collected and spent by a senior cleric in the interests of the needy.

The Tuesday clashes erupted after the protesters, who were wearing shrouds as a sign of their death-defying morale, tried to stop the security forces from entering the neighborhood. Police tear-gassed the protesters.Since 2011, Bahrain has been witnessing daily rallies against the ruling Al Khalifah regime, which protesters accuse of systematically abusing the Shia population. The regime has been suppressing all dissent, leading to scores of fatalities.

It has also dissolved a number of opposition bodies.

Source: Al-Alam News Network

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