Bahrainis bury protester amid govt crackdown

 Mourners carrying pictures of activist Ahmed Farhan, killed on Wednesday, followed a car carrying his flag-covered coffin.

No security forces were present, but a helicopter buzzed overhead and it was unclear if police would disperse the mourners in line with a blanket ban on public gatherings.

“This is a big loss... They can say what they want about us but we are non-violent. We will never use violence,” said Yousif Hasan Ali, who was in jail with Farhan, 30, for over two years.

“They may silence this generation but another will rise up to demand revenge for the blood that was shed now.”

Bahrain has arrested seven opposition leaders and driven pro-democracy demonstrators from the streets after weeks of protests that prompted the king to declare martial law and led to the arrival of troops from fellow Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Three protesters died in the security sweep.

Sheikh Issa Qassim, Bahrain’s most influential Shi’ite cleric, said in his Friday sermon that Gulf troops would have been better off helping Palestinians in Gaza than entering Bahrain and thanked those who died or resigned in the uprising. “The violence of the authorities has created a deep, wide and dangerous wound between the government and people,” he said.

“The government wants to break our will so we give up our calls for substantial and meaningful reforms, but they will never break our will. They can use tanks and planes to smash our bodies but will never break our souls and our will for reforms.”

No troops or police could be seen as thousands of worshippers stood outside Draz mosque after Qassim’s sermon, calling for Gulf troops to leave and vowing to fight what they called “corrupt and oppressive regime.”

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