Bahrain’s regime forces have clashed with protesters after Manama’s decision to strip scores of activists of citizenship.
Heavy clashes broke out on the outskirts of the capital Saturday evening as regime forces used teargas to disperse crowds of protesters that also demanded the release of jailed opposition leader and cleric, Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of the main opposition bloc al-Wefaq.
The regime revoked the citizenship of 72 prominent Shia and Sunni Muslim activists, in an apparent move that signaled the Al Khalifa even targets Sunni opposition activists along with the majority Shia Muslims.
The Bahraini state news agency BNA said the citizenship of the opposition activists were revoked for “harming the interests of the kingdom.”
The agency further cited Bahraini authorities as claiming that the decision aimed to “preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats.”
Bahrainis seek Salman’s release
“Each citizen of Bahrain has the responsibility to act in ways that do not harm the interests of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the Bahraini Interior Ministry said in a statement.
It also listed the names of the 72, adding that “proper legal procedures will be taken” by the ministry in future to implement the decision.
Bahraini police attacked anti-regime protesters demanding the release of Sheikh Salman in the town of Diraz on Friday.
Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014, after Manama accused him of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers.
Salman’s arrest has triggered massive condemnation inside and outside the monarchy, with leaders, governments and international organizations across the world calling for his immediate release.
Bahrain, a close ally of the United States in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Gas station blast near Manama
Also on Saturday, two Bahraini police officers were reported wounded in a blast inside a gas station west of Manama.
The explosion took place in the village of Maqsha. The Interior Ministry described the incident as a terrorist bombing without further elaboration.
Meanwhile, the two wounded officers were reportedly transferred to a local hospital.