Bahrain polls open amid crackdown

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Saturday, 24 September 2011

shiitnews Bahrain polls open amid crackdownPolls have opened in Bahrain as Al Khalifa regime continues its harsh crackdown on opposition parties and protesters calling for an election boycott.

Saturday's elections will fill 18 parliament seats that were abandoned by Bahrain's largest opposition party, Al-Wefaq, in February in protest of the government's crackdown on peaceful protesters. 

The Saudi-backed Bahraini regime forces are staging a massive show of force across the tiny island as more clashes with opposition activists are expected. 

Riot police are heavily present around Pearl Square in the capital Manama and have set up checkpoints and patrols in key areas. 

Many political parties have vowed to boycott the voting in a message of defiance. 

On Friday, regime forces attacked opposition protesters who were calling for an election boycott in Manama. 

Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched towards Pearl Square, the former epicenter of Bahrain's revolution, on Friday. 

Witnesses say regime forces had fired tear gas to prevent protesters from reaching the area. There have been unconfirmed reports of injuries and arrests. 

Bahraini authorities had stepped up pressure on anti-government activists before the elections and have threatened those calling for a boycott with jail. 

Bahrain is going through a revolution that began in mid-February. Since then dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more injured. 

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