Bahrainis have held nationwide protest rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of the Saudi troop deployment to their country as part of the Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed crackdown on dissidents.
On Monday, the protesters took to the streets in different areas, including the Wadiyan village in Sitra, Musalla and Samaheej villages in the north, the Nuwaidrat village close to Sitra as well as Dailh Village, located west of the capital Manama.
The rally in Daih saw the marchers holding up anti-Saudi banners and chanting slogans against the regimes in Riyadh and Manama.
One large poster bore a picture of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reading, “We refuse Saudi occupation to Bahrain. Your occupation is under our feet.”
The protesters also vowed to hold on to the memory of those killed or jailed by Saudi-backed forces since 2011.
The gatherings, however, turned violent after Bahriani forces intervened to disperse the protesters, firing teargas at them in several areas. The demonstrators also responded by setting fire to furniture items and lobbing petrol bombs at police cars.
Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in the island kingdom, calling for the ruling Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in suppressing peaceful pro-democracy protesters.
The ongoing heavy-handed crackdown has left scores of people dead and hundreds others injured. A number of the victims died in prison under torture.
Manama has also jailed many opposition figures, including Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, and Ibrahim Sharif, the leader of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), Bahrain’s largest leftist political party.
UK-based Amnesty International and other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime over the “rampant” human rights abuses against oppositionists and anti-government protesters.