Bahraini protesters encircle capital

March 6, 2011 - 0:0

MANAMA/TEHRAN (Agencies) -- Thousands of protesters in Bahrain have formed a huge human chain around the capital, Manama, as their campaign to loosen the Khalifa monarchy's grip on power in the strategic Persian Gulf nation enters its third week.

No police were in sight Saturday as protesters -- men and women -- held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain's Shia majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution, The Associated Press reported.
Tensions have been high in the Persian Gulf kingdom, the host of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, since a street battle between Sunnis and Shias on Thursday left at least a dozen people injured.
Organizers say some members of the Sunni minority joined Saturday's event to oust King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Press TV website blocked in Bahrain
A Bahraini human rights activist has said Manama has blocked Press TV's website in the country, adding Bahrain is on the “black list” as far as human rights are concerned.
“According to all human rights organizations, Bahrain stands on the black list when it comes to human rights,” Nabeel Rajab, a member of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told Press TV.
He underlined that Press TV's website in Bahrain has remained blocked for ten days now, describing the move as a blatant example of violating freedom of expression in the country.
The rights activist added that Press TV's site is one of “tens of thousands” of websites blocked in Bahrain over the past few months.
“The Bahrain situation has deteriorated,” he noted.
As confirmed by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, he said, Bahrain uses “systematic torture” against political prisoners in the country.
“Until two weeks ago we had over 500 political prisoners,” he said, adding quite a few of them are children.
The rights activist underscored that the political prisoners in Bahrain are “sexually harassed.”
He went on to say that roughly one out of every 1,000 Bahraini citizens are held as a political prisoner, making Bahrain the country with the highest number of political prisoners per capita.
He added that all human rights organizations have blacklisted Bahrain as a violator of human rights.
“(The) Internet is being slowed down, so that we don't upload videos and we don't upload pictures… to show what is happening in Bahrain,” he concluded.