15:04 GMT18 September 2020
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    Protesters mostly from Shia Muslim majority demanded a "real" constitutional monarchy with a prime minister independent from the Sunni royal family. Bahraini police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the rally.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the Bahraini capital, Manama, on Saturday calling for political reforms and release of the main opposition leader, Al Jazeera reported.

    The rally marked the fourth anniversary of the start of anti-government protests on February 14, 2011, the media said.

    Protesters mostly from Shia Muslim majority of the country demanded a "real" constitutional monarchy with a prime minister independent from the Sunni royal family, according to the broadcaster.

    The demonstrators also called for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the largest Shiite opposition party Al-Wefaq, who was arrested in last December on charges of inciting a violent regime change through illegal practices.

    Bahraini police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the rally.

    The public security chief, Maj. Gen. Tariq Hassan, warned that people should "stay away from disruptive activities that might affect security or public order," as quoted by Al Jazeera. He stressed that calls to participate in the demonstration will be considered as crime.

    Since 2011, Bahrain has been mired in Shia Muslim uprisings against its Sunni leaders. Shia Muslims, who form a majority in Bahrain, initiated the protests to achieve greater political freedom and equality as they claimed the regime under the Sunni Al Khalifa royal family infringes upon their rights. The protests resulted in brutal crackdowns on the opposition.

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    Tags:
    Shiites, Sunni, police, protests, Al-Wefaq, Ali Salman, Manama, Bahrain
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