Manama: Large crowds of pro-government
Bahrainis rallied on Thursday in Manama, shortly after anti-regime
protesters staged a big gathering, on the 17th day of protests
rocking the Gulf kingdom.
Supporters of the Sunni ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty
gathered outside Al-Fateh mosque in Manama, waving Bahraini
flags and pledging support to King Hamad. State television put
their number at 300,000 demonstrators, a figure that could not
be independently verified.
Earlier, thousands of anti-regime protesters massed
outside the interior ministry, in the largest anti-government
protest this week.
Protesters of all ages then marched to Pearl Square, the
epicentre of a sit-in demanding that the ruling Al-Khalifa
dynasty step down, chanting: "Down, down Al-Khalifa" and "No
dialogue with the killers."
Seven protesters were shot dead by security forces in
protests last month, four in a deadly police raid in the early
hours of February 17 on demonstrators camped in the square,
which has since been dubbed "Martyrs` Roundabout."
Carrying banners that read "230 years enough --
Al-Khalifa leave" and "No dialogue," thousands of
demonstrators in two gender-segregated processions stopped at
a makeshift shrine along the King Faisal Highway dedicated to
Abdulrida Buhamid, who was killed on February 17 by police
"How can we expect security when the army shoots and
kills the innocent?" demanded one woman who stopped to pray at
The wave of popular rallies in the tiny Gulf kingdom has
brought to the surface simmering discontent among Bahrain`s
Shiites, who are calling for the fall of the Sunni Al-Khalifa
dynasty which has ruled the majority Shiite country for 200
A mass rally outside the government headquarters in
Manama is scheduled for Friday.