BEIRUT

Middle East

Amnesty to Bahrain: allow peaceful protests

Bahraini anti-government protesters shout slogans and hold up images of Sheik Ali Salman, head of the Shiite majority's main political bloc, after midday prayers outside a mosque in Diraz, Bahrain, on Friday, June 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

MANAMA, Bahrain: Amnesty International has called on the Bahrain government to allow peaceful protests in the tense country and stop violence against anti-government demonstrators.

The New York-based rights group said in a statement that the Shiite majority's main political bloc, Al-Wefaq, was denied permission to hold a demonstration planned for Thursday in Jablat Hibshi.

In recent weeks, Bahrain has banned all rallies organized by opposition groups and responded with force when demonstrators attempted to defy the ban. Several protest leaders were injured at a June 22 demonstration.

At least 50 people have died in unrest since February 2011 on this strategic island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Hundreds have been arrested as part of pressure on protesters seeking a greater voice in Bahrain's affairs.

 

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