The Bahraini people have taken to the streets across the country to mark the fourth anniversary of the popular uprising amid a heavy-handed crackdown by Al Khalifa regime forces to curb the undying anti-government rallies.
Bahrainis are marking the anniversary of their February 14, 2011 revolution amid soaring tensions in the Persian Gulf country and heavy clashes between police and protesters.
Security forces once again on Saturday fired tear gas to disperse anti-regime demonstrators in Sitra island, northeast of the Bahraini capital of Manama.
On Friday, people took to the streets and staged mass demonstrations in Manama and several towns and villages across the kingdom, including Sitra, Belad al-Qadeem and Diraz on the eve of the anniversary of the revolution.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Manama while clashes also broke out in several other towns.
Bahrainis have been holding numerous protests in the past few days to mark the fourth anniversary of their uprising against the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
Demonstrators are seeking the downfall of the Al Khalifa regime and establishment of a democratically-elected government.
The protesters also called for the release of the main opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, and other political prisoners. Salman has been under arrest since December last year on charges of inciting regime change. He denies the charges.
Amnesty International on Friday called on Bahraini officials to observe the citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly ahead of the revolution’s anniversary.
“The Bahraini authorities must uphold the rights to freedom of peaceful expression and assembly and rein in security forces as thousands of protesters are taking to the streets ahead of the fourth anniversary of the uprising in Bahrain,” the rights group said in a statement.
Amnesty also slammed Bahraini authorities for the arrest of a number of opposition figures and activists, including al-Wefaq National Islamic Society Secretary General Sheikh Salman and prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.