Bahrainis have once again taken to the streets demonstrating against the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
On Wednesday, anti-regime demonstrations were held in the northeastern island of Sitra and in the western village of Shahrakan.
Protesters also expressed solidarity with imprisoned protesters and pledged to continue demonstrations until their constitutional rights are restored and justice prevails.
The demonstrations come despite a new law imposing prison terms and fines for those who publicly ‘insult’ Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The new law, which has been announced ahead of the third anniversary of the country’s 2011 popular uprising against Al Khalifa, stipulates that “publicly offending the king of Bahrain, its national flag or emblem” will carry a sentence of minimum one year and maximum seven years, as well as a fine of up to USD 26,000.
According to the new law, which is an amendment to Bahrain’s 1976 penal code, the sentence can exceed to seven years if the “offense was committed in the presence of the king.”
Previously, the same charges carried a minimum sentence of only a few days.
Since 2011, anti-regime demonstrations have been held almost every day in Bahrain.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were called in to assist the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on peaceful protesters. According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested.
International human rights organizations have repeatedly slammed the Manama regime for excessive use of force against peaceful protests.