Bahrain (Tasnim) – The Human Rights Watch condemned the brutal violence by the Bahraini regime forces against protesters in a northwestern village as a crackdown on freedom of expression.
“Yet again the architects of bloody destabilizing violence in Bahrain appear to be the Al Khalifa government, and the timing of this operation – two days after [Bahraini] King Hamad’s [bin Isa Al Khalifa] convivial meeting with [US] President [Donald] Trump – can hardly be a coincidence,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Press TV.
Earlier in the day, Bahraini regime forces stormed into the residence of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s Shiite majority in the village of Diraz, arresting everyone inside the house. It is not yet clear whether Sheikh Qassim himself is among the detainees.
There have been reports of security forces firing birdshot at protesters and teargas into the house of the prominent cleric.
Sources have confirmed at least two fatalities. Seven others are said to be in critical condition.
Diraz is the native village of Sheikh Isa Qassim. It has been the scene of protests since last June, when the authorities stripped the cleric of his citizenship over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote “sectarianism” and “violence.” He has denied the allegations.
Following the brutal operations, Bahraini clerics called for mass nationwide protests.
This report prepared by Tasnim News Agency