Bahrain’s main opposition movement, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has condemned the Al Khalifa regime’s police for excessive use of force against Shia mourners commemorating the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein (peace be upon him), the third Shia Imam.
The condemnation on Wednesday came after regime forces clashed with Shia villagers overnight Tuesday, pulling down Ashura (the day Imam Hossein was martyred) banners set up in what police called “undesignated areas” of villages outside the capital, Manama.
Witnesses said the regime forces attacked protesting villagers and fired buckshots to disperse them, causing casualties.
Wefaq censured the “excessive use of force” to remove the banners and added that the move amounts to “suppression of religious rituals.”
Bahraini authorities, in reaction, claimed that some banners had political statements that did not have anything to do with Ashura.
“Security forces took measures concerning some violations in certain villages,” police chief Tareq al-Hassan said in a statement, adding that some of the banners were in areas that “posed a danger to traffic.”
Ashura marks the day when Imam Hossein, along with 72 of his companions, was martyred in Karbala.
Imam Hussein’s martyrdom is considered by Shia Muslims as a symbol of the struggle against injustice and the need to preserve the purity of Islam.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.