Bahrain arbitrarily arrested 18 in July last week: Rights group

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SHAFAQNA – A Bahraini human rights organisation says 18 people were arrested arbitrarily in the kingdom in the last week of July as Manama presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown on political dissidents.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said on Wednesday that it had also documented 36 peaceful protests across the Persian Gulf country on 24- 30 July, 11 of which were suppressed by police.

Defying the regime’s crackdown, Bahraini people once again took to the streets in several areas, calling for an end to the Al Khalifah family’s rule.

On Wednesday evening, Bahraini forces attacked a peaceful rally held in the island of Sitra to commemorate those killed at the hands of the regime.

The Bahraini forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators, who chanted slogans against Al Khalifh and vowed to take revenge for the regime atrocities.

The protesters further reiterated their solidarity with top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who is under house arrest in the village of Diraz.

Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of his nationality last June over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. He denies the charges.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base, has witnessed peaceful anti-regime protests against the systematic abuse of the Shia population and discrimination against them since 2011.

Manama has responded to the protests with lethal force, which has drawn international criticism.

Bahraini authorities have also detained human rights campaigners, broken up major opposition political parties and revoked the nationality of several activists.

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