People in Bahrain have once again held protests across the Persian Gulf kingdom, calling for the downfall of the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
On Thursday, anti-regime demonstrators took to the streets in Bahrain’s northeastern island of Sitra. Similar protests were also held in the northern city of Jidhafs and the northern village of Samaheej.
The protesters also voiced their solidarity with women activists imprisoned in the Manama regime’s detention centers.
Over the past months, the Bahraini regime has stepped up its heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful protesters and activists in the country.
In late December 2013, a court in Bahrain sentenced five opposition protesters to 15 years in prison on charges of being behind two bomb attacks, including one during last year’s Formula One race. Reports say the protesters told the court that they had confessed under torture.
On December 24, 2013, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights censured the Al Khalifa regime for arresting and torturing the youth and keeping them in detention for long periods.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, calling for political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
In October, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “The [Bahraini] authorities simply slap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a ‘confession’.”