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Bahrain

Bahrain jails 29 people trying to reach protest hub

bahrain squerA court in Bahrain has sentenced 29 people to one month in prison for trying to enter a heavily guarded area that was once the center of the Persian Gulf nation’s anti-government protests.

Defence Lawyer Mohamed al-Wasti said on Friday that the group was convicted of trying to bypass security cordons last year to reach Pearl Square, the epicenter of protests in early 2011.

Al-Wasti said the protesters plan to appeal Thursday’s court ruling.

The iconic Pearl Square structure was demolished on March 18, 2011, two days after Bahraini and Saudi forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, cleared the landmark square where anti-government protesters had been camped for several weeks.

The court decision comes as opposition groups are calling for stepped-up protests against the Al Khalifa regime.

Reports say at least 13 opposition leaders are held in prison for involvement in protests against the Bahraini regime.

The regime’s courts handed down life sentences to seven of the activists, including prominent activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and gave the others jail terms ranging from five to 15 years.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

The Bahraini regime promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states.

Dozens of Bahraini people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses.

Bahrainis say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically-elected government is met.

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