Bahrain (Tasnim) – Bahrainis have rallied to voice their anger at a visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom which has been cracking down on pro-democracy protests for years.
The demonstrators took to the streets in the island village of Sitra on Wednesday evening to condemn London’s support for the Manama regime, stomping on a Union Jack.
Skirmishes broke out when regime forces intervened, and fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, Press TV reported.
May arrived in Manama on Monday to meet the leaders of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is formed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.
She was welcomed by Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifah bin Salman Al Khalifah upon her arrival in the country.
Prior to her visit to Bahrain, May indicated reluctance to address the Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed crackdown on the popular uprising in the country.
She took a cautious line on the issue, saying that human rights abuses should not affect London’s trade policy.
“No doubt there will be some people in the UK who say we shouldn’t seek stronger trade and security ties with these countries because of their record on human rights,” May said.
“But we don’t uphold our values and human rights by turning our back on this issue,” the British prime minister continued.
She said the UK was going to continue its ties with the Persian Gulf monarchies to “keep our people safe and create new opportunities for business.”
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.
This report prepared by Tasnim News Agency.