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Bahrain cleric says gov't treats activists as “enemies of the state”
Published in Bikya Masr on 16 - 09 - 2011

DUBAI: A leading Bahraini cleric said on Friday that the country's Sunni rulers treat anti-government protesters as “enemies of the state.”
Sheikh Eissa Qassim spoke to mourners gathering for the funeral of a 35-year-old man who allegedly died after inhaling tear gas fired at demonstrators earlier in the week.
It comes as tensions continue to widen between the rulers and the predominantly Shiite protesters in the country.
The man, Sayyid Jawad Ahmed, was to be buried later on Friday in the oil hub of Sitra.
The kingdom's health ministry confirmed the death in a statement Thursday, saying Ahmed died from “acute respiratory syndrome distress.”
Bahrain has been hit by a series of protests since earlier this year, as the Shiite majority demand more rights and a say in the future of their country. The government has responded with violent crackdowns on protesters who call for the end to the kingdom.
More than 30 people have died since February when protests started in Bahrain.
Hundreds of activists have been detained and brought to trial on anti-government charges in special security courts set up after authorities imposed marital law and invited a Saudi-led Gulf military force in the country to help deal with dissent in the tiny island nation.
The United States has its 5th fleet headquartered in the tiny Gulf island and has largely remained silent on the issue, calling on the government and protesters to remain peaceful.
BM


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