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Bahraini clerics protest over arrests of women
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altMANAMA — Bahraini clerics staged a protest sit-in on Monday over the recent mass arrests of women and minors by the Khalifa regime.

The sit-in protest was held in a Shia suburb of the capital Manama on Monday, AFP reported.

"More than 40 Bahraini women were savagely arrested... in a commercial center where they were beaten," the main opposition party Al-Wefaq said in a statement.

"Seven minors aged between 12 and 15 were among them," the statement said, quoting their lawyers, adding that they were "beaten and humiliated."

Al-Wefaq called for the immediate release of the women, said they had only been expressing their "right to freedom of expression," and called their treatment "savage and inhumane."

The women were arrested on Friday a day before the controversial by-elections boycotted by the opposition to replace 18 Shia lawmakers who quit the parliament in protest over the violence used against demonstrators in February.

A second round of voting in the by-elections will be held on Saturday in nine constituencies, the authorities announced on Sunday.

Bahrainis have been holding anti-government rallies since mid-February, demanding an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the country for over 40 years. 

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested in a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain, home to a huge American military installation for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.

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Last Updated on 27 September 2011 18:27