Bahraini security forces clash with anti-regime protesters

Bahraini security forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with anti-regime protesters who were angry at what they called farce elections in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

On Saturday, Bahraini regime forces waged a brutal crackdown on protesters who blocked roads in several towns, including the northeastern island of Sitra and the eastern town of Sanad, to show their anger at the vote held the same day.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

The Bahraini regime held the country’s first parliamentary and municipal elections since a 2011 popular uprising on Saturday. The polls were held without a compromise between authorities in the Manama regime and the opposition, including the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.

Al-Wefaq and other Shia opposition groups have dismissed the electoral process as a “farce” and called for an elected prime minister who is independent from the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy.

Al-Wefaq won nearly half of the seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections, but pulled out of parliament due to a crackdown on anti-regime protesters in 2011.

The party has called for an end to power monopoly in the country, warning that the regime’s refusal to relinquish power could cause violence.

Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of al-Wefaq, said on Friday that the Manama regime’s failure to reach a political agreement with the opposition could spark an “explosion” of violence in the country.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to give up power.

Bahrain has been severely criticized by human rights groups for its harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has claimed the lives of scores of people so far.


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