MANAMA (Dispatches) – Bahrainis have rallied near the capital to voice support for the country’s most prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassem and his call for implementation of genuine reforms by the ruling regime.
The protest was held west of Manama on Sunday, with people holding up placards and pictures of the cleric, who has been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship for his support for anti-regime protests in the Persian Gulf island, Bahrain’s LuaLua satellite channel reported.
They demanded that the authorities abandon their heavily-discriminatory policies, and instead start recognizing the people as the source of the state’s power.
Sheikh Qassim had made the call for reforms during a statement back in April, urging that the Bahraini protesters close their ranks in favor of pushing the country’s monarchy into implementing the measures.
The regime, he had noted, had no choice other than to enact the measures if it sought to guarantee its continued survival.
“The people of Bahrain are well aware of the fact that the solution to the country’s crisis lies only in a genuine improvement of the situation and establishment of a political relationship between the nation and the government on the basis of new and viable principles,” Qassim had stated.
The country began hosting a popular uprising in 2011 against the rulers’ constant discrimination against the island’s Shia Muslim majority.
The regime has been coming down hard on the protests, killing scores of people, wounding thousands of others, and stripping hundreds of their Bahraini nationality.