Bahraini Shiite Muslims wave national flags during an anti-government rally under the slogan "Freedom and Democracy"
Bahraini Shiite Muslims wave national flags during an anti-government rally under the slogan "Freedom and Democracy" in the village of Shakhora, west of the capital Manama. Thousands of protesters from Shiite opposition groups marched in Bahrain on Friday to demand the release of jailed activists, witnesses told AFP. © Mohammed al-Shaikh - AFP
Bahraini Shiite Muslims wave national flags during an anti-government rally under the slogan
AFP
Last updated: August 31, 2012

Thousands of Shiites protest in Bahrain

Thousands of protesters from Shiite opposition groups marched in Bahrain on Friday to demand the release of jailed activists, witnesses told AFP.

The march held under the slogan "Freedom and Democracy" was organised after a two-month break in demonstrations in the tiny Gulf monarchy ruled by a Sunni minority. It was held near a motorway connecting Shiite villages with Manama.

Protesters, including women, waved Bahraini flags and pictures of jailed activists from Shiite opposition groups, the witnesses said.

They carried portraits of Nabil Rajab, a human rights activist sentenced to three years in prison for participating in illegal demonstrations, and placards reading "Free Nabil Rajab."

"We do not forget the prisoners!" the demonstrators chanted.

Friday's rally follows a two-month ban imposed by the interior ministry to "restore order" after complaints of damage at venues of demonstrations, according to officials.

Shiite-majority Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni dynasty, has come under strong criticism from international rights groups over a bloody crackdown on protests last year inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings.

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