New Clashes as Fate of Bahrain Cleric Remains Unknown
Bahraini regime forces have clashed with demonstrators rallying in solidarity with a prominent Shia cleric and his slain supporters in several areas across the kingdom.
Troops attacked peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Sitra Island and chanted slogans against King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah on Sunday night.
The protesters held the monarch responsible for recent crimes committed by his forces in the northwestern village of Diraz where several protesters were killed during a raid of Sheikh Isa Qassim's home.
On May 23, police raided Diraz, which has been under a military siege for almost a year, and stormed the home of the spiritual leader of Bahrain's Shia majority.
At least five demonstrators were killed and dozens more injured during the crackdown which also saw more than 280 people arrested.
The fresh wave of anti-regime protests broke out on May 21, when a Bahraini court sentenced Sheikh Qassim to one year in jail and ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines.
Last year, the cleric was also stripped of his citizenship, which sparked repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.
Also on Sunday, demonstrators staged a protest in support of Sheikh Qassem in Saar residential area, west of Manama, calling for the punishment of those behind the killing of activists.
Al Khalifah regime forces rushed to attack the peaceful protesters, firing toxic gases to disperse them.
Similar protests were also held in Bilad Al Qadeem town and the villages of Shahrkan, Samaheej, Bani Jamra, Musalla, Karranah, Karzakan, Karbabad, Daih and Sanabis late on Sunday.
The developments come as the fate of Sheikh Qassem remains unknown amid reports that the regime wanted to send him to exile either in Turkey or the United Arab Emirates after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected such a request in a show of support for the Shia leader.
Source: Al-Alam News Network