AFP – 23/09/2011 – 2:20 p | Hits: 57
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A senior Shiite cleric in Bahrain has criticized the Gulf kingdom’s Sunni rulers for practicing what he says is “fake democracy” ahead of parliament elections.
The voting is for 18 parliament seats abandoned by Shiite lawmakers six months ago to protest the crackdowns of anti-government protests.
Sheik Isa Qassim says the vote on Saturday is meaningless. The cleric spoke during Friday’s sermon in the opposition stronghold of Diraz, northwest of the capital Manama.
Shiite-led groups have called for escalated protests to press demands for greater rights from the Sunni monarchy.
More than 30 people have died since protests started in February on the tiny, but strategically important Gulf island that is home to U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
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