Thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets in a march for democratic reform outside the capital Manama, 10 days after a police crackdown on a similar demonstration organized online by activists inspired by the Egyptian protests.
The protesters marched west of the capital on Friday, protesting against the stringent new laws that prohibit public dissent. This, however, was a sanctioned march and no trouble or scuffles with police were seen this time around.
“Down with Hamad”, the crowd chanted as it walked with national red-and-white flags and banners that called for King Hamad bin Isaa al-Khalifa and Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa to go.
King Hamad has been in power since 1999.
One protester, a 38-year-old secretary, Hayat al-Abbar, told Reuters that “we are here…because we want freedom. We are used to oppression and tear gas and beatings,” he said, as others walked shouting that they “will never forget those who sacrificed their lives.” ....