Bahrainis rise in 'Day of Rage' protests

 Troops and police fanned out across the state with a restive Shi’ite Muslim majority after the Sunni Al Khalifa ruling family, confronted with popular demands for a constitutional monarchy, declared security is now the priority.

A pair of fighter jets was flying over Bahrain on Friday morning and police and military forces erected additional checkpoints on major highways, searching cars. Mats were laid out in the streets to accommodate the overflow of worshippers who listened over loudspeakers to the sermon at Drazi mosque by top Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim.

“What the Al Khalifa family don’t seem to understand is that people are not afraid of death,” said Najat, who prayed in the mosque’s women section, dressed in a black robe.

“If they had agreed from the start to dissolve parliament and find a political solution then people would not have escalated their demands,” she said, adding that she would join the protests planned for later in the afternoon. There were no protests immediately after the Friday prayers. Nine demonstrations appeared to be planned, across different parts of Bahrain, including one headed towards the airport and one that aims to “liberate” Salmaniya hospital.

Internet activists and Shi’ite villages organised the marches for Friday, dubbed the “Day of Rage”. But the mainstream Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq and parts of the youth movement were not involved.

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