Iran tells Bahrain to avoid violence against protesters

March 15, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has called on the Bahraini government to avoid using excessive violence against the protesters.

“We expect the Bahraini government to deal with people’s demands prudently and respect people’s right to pursue their demands through peaceful means,” Salehi said late on Sunday.
The Iranian official’s remarks came as the Bahraini government stepped up crackdown on anti-Khalifa-regime protesters who on Sunday staged the most disruptive demonstrations since the calls for more freedom began a month ago.
On Sunday, the protesters tried to expand their rallies from Manama’s main square to the capital’s main business hub, but the protests turned violent as riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators.
Protests in Bahrain started on February 14 as the Bahraini opposition inspired by the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa organized an anti-government rally in Manama.
The Sunni rulers have been in power for years in the strategic Persian Gulf kingdom, which is mostly populated by Shia Muslims.
The Bahraini Shias have always called for greater political voice and complained about discriminations against them.