Thousands of Bahraini Shias took to the streets yesterday on the eve of the second anniversary of the start of their protests, as a national dialogue aimed at ending a political stalemate resumed.
Following a call by opposition groups, demonstrators marched in 12 villages and chanted slogans, witnesses said, amid calls for a general strike and nationwide protests today and tomorrow.
Although the protests ended peacefully, groups of youths later blocked streets in the village of Sitra, southeast of Manama, with garbage bins and rocks. Riot police fired tear gas and shotguns to disperse them.
More demonstrations are expected today following calls by the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, a clandestine cyber group which urged a Friday march on what was once known as Pearl Square, where protesters camped for a month before being driven out in mid-March 2011.
The mainstream opposition led by the Al-Wefaq formation called for a demonstration today in Shia villages. Meanwhile, representatives of the opposition, and other pro-government political groups, and the government held a new session of talks of the national dialogue that resumed at the weekend, BNA state news agency reported.
Opposition groups, including Al-Wefaq, have made a last-minute decision to join the talks after they had walked out in the first round in July 2011, complaining that they were not serious.