Protests set to mark Bahrain revolt

AFP-JIJI

Bahrain’s opposition has called for protests to mark the third anniversary Friday of an Arab Spring revolt led by the Shiite majority that was brutally crushed by the Saudi-backed Sunni monarchy.

The gulf state is deeply divided, with persistent protests occurring on the outskirts of the capital, Manama, igniting clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on “terrorism” charges, deadlocked reconciliation talks and simmering sectarian distrust.

The main opposition group, Al-Wefaq, is calling for a strike Thursday and a rally Saturday to commemorate the Feb. 14 uprising, which was inspired by the pro-democracy revolts that swept the Arab world in early 2011.

But even the head of Al-Wefaq, cleric Ali Salman, admits there will only be “symbolic activities to protest the deterioration of the situation.” The clandestine February 14 youth coalition has called on protesters on Friday to try and reach Pearl Square, where demonstrators camped for a month before being violently driven out by security forces in March 2011.