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Bahrain

Bahrainis rally in support of jailed Shia cleric

Bahraini opposition groups have organized a large protest rally in the capital city in a show of solidarity with the incarcerated Shia opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman.

Clashes erupted between riot police and demonstrators in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday, as opposition groups urged all residents to take to the streets for a fifth day of protests.

This is while the country’s Interior Ministry banned protests scheduled to be held on Friday.

On December 28, Bahraini forces arrested Sheikh Salman, who leads the country’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. The prominent opposition leader has been accused of inciting hatred against the monarchy.

Human rights organizations have condemned the incarceration, demanding the speedy release of the opposition figure.

On December 30, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on the Manama regime to release Sheikh Salman.

The European Union has also warned that the arrest of the al-Wefaq leader “carries the risk of jeopardizing an already difficult political and security situation.”

Bahrain, whose government has close ties with the US and Britain, has been gripped by a popular uprising against the ruling Al Khalifa regime since 2011.

The protesters demand reforms and a more representative role in running the affairs of the country.

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