From Samira Said, CNN – 23/09/2011 – 2:08 p | Hits: 66
September 23, 2011 — Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
(CNN) — Several groups have planned protests ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Bahrain. The elections are being held to replace 18 seats that were vacated by Al-Wefaq, the country’s largest opposition party. The party vacated the seats to protest the treatment of demonstrators during February’s unrest in Bahrain.
An opposition group called The February 14 Coalition said it plans to launch protests on Friday and Saturday in the newly named Martyr’s Square, the site formerly known as Pearl Roundabout.
“Just like all other freedom loving people living in real democracies across the globe, we, the people of Bahrain have the right to choose the way in which we are governed,” the group said.
The Youth Coalition of February 14 announced they will be holding a sit-in demonstration at the same location.
Addressing an opposition rally in Tubli, a village south of Manama, Thursday, Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the Al-Wefaq party said, “when we talk about democracy we want democracy like that of Westminster, France, and America, not the democracy of Saddam Hussein, nor the democracy of Zine El Abidine, nor the democracy of Gadhafi.”
Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, president of Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority, said he expected voter turnout to be encouraging Saturday, according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was attending the UN General Assembly in New York. On Thursday he spoke about the need for reforms “aimed to provide decent living conditions, security and tranquility in a society of peaceful coexistence.”