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Bahrain

Rallies ongoing in Bahrain amid heavy crackdown

Mass protests are underway in the Bahraini towns near the capital Manama to mark the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, despite strong presence of the regime’s forces.

On Thursday, the towns of Sitra, Bilad al-Qadeem, Dumsitan, Bani Jamrah, Aali, Buri, Sar, Salmabad, Karzakan and many villages were the scene of anti-regime protests.

Clashes have reportedly erupted after regime forces fired tear gas at protesters in Bani Jamrah, Sitra, Diraz and Daih towns, filling residential areas with toxic gas.

Regime forces have also blocked main roads inside the villages to prevent pro-democracy protesters from taking to streets.

Protesters, marking the fourth anniversary of Bahraini uprising, chanted slogans demanding the release of all prisoners of conscience. They insisted that they will never give up their stances.

A three-day-strike, called for by the opposition, started on Wednesday, as people closed businesses and boycotted commercial transactions with the government to make the streets empty of vehicles during the strike.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held mass rallies in the Persian Gulf kingdom, demanding the downfall of Al Khalifa regime and establishment of a democratically-elected government.

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

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