Manama: Anti-government protesters
blockaded Bahrain`s parliament and massed outside the state
broadcaster Monday in efforts to escalate pressure on the
nation`s embattled monarchy after two weeks of nonstop marches
and deadly clashes.
The demonstrations appear part of a strategy to hold
rallies at sensitive locations in the capital Manama while
maintaining a round-the-clock protest base in a landmark
square in the tiny Gulf kingdom.
The parliament became a target to coincide with a
meeting called by the 40-member upper chamber, which is
appointed by Bahrain`s ruler. The session was delayed by
several hours when protesters formed a human chain around the
From parliament, the marchers then moved to the state
TV headquarters, chanting slogans that claim the reports on
the unrest seek to widen rifts between the Shiite-led
protesters and the Sunni dynasty that has ruled Bahrain for
more than two centuries.
Shiites, who account for about 70 per cent of the
country`s 525,000 people, have long complained of
discrimination and other abuses by the Sunni rulers.
The uprising in Bahrain was the first in the Gulf from
the reform groundswell across the Arab world. But clashes have
since spread to Oman and opposition groups in Saudi Arabia
have brought rare challenges to the near-absolute power of the
Bahrain`s rulers have sought talks with opposition
groups to ease the tensions.
However, they are under pressure from Gulf allies not
to offer too many political concessions. Many Sunnis across
the region fear that conceding significant power to Bahrain`s
Shiites could open the door for greater influence by Shiite