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Small protests mark Bahrain uprising’s 10 anniversary

Small and sporadic demonstrations took place in Bahrain on Sunday amid a hefty police presence, marking a decade since the Gulf nation’s Arab Spring-inspired uprising.

On February 14, 2011 a mainly Shiite protest movement took to the streets to demand an elected government, briefly threatening the Sunni monarchy’s grip on power, before a deadly crackdown.

Commemorating those events, activists on Sunday posted pictures of small-scale demonstrations on their social media accounts from the outskirts of the capital Manama.

Some waved Bahraini flags, while others held aloft banners against the ruling Al-Khalifa family.

The images posted online showed a tight police presence in the capital and at other Shiite villages.

Marches had been organised from Saturday evening in Shiite-majority neighbourhoods near Manama as well as in the north and west of the country.

But the number of demonstrators was limited compared to previous years due to the tight security as well as strict anti-coronavirus measures.

The 2011 uprising, inspired by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, ended in a bloody crackdown with the help of Saudi forces.

Dozens are believed to have been killed in that unrest, although the exact toll remains unclear.

Bahrain deplored the protest movement as a plot by regional Shiite power Iran.

It banned opposition parties, put civilians in front of military courts and jailed dozens of peaceful political opponents, triggering substantial international criticism.

“Ten years after Bahrain’s popular uprising, systemic injustice has intensified and political repression… has effectively shut any space for… freedom of expression,” Amnesty International said in a statement.