The Associated Press reports:
More than 10,000 demonstrators joined Bahrain’s first public rally in months Saturday as the leader of the Gulf nation’s main Shiite political party urged backers to press ahead with peaceful protests for greater political rights after fierce crackdowns by security forces.
The event carried twin messages in a nation wracked by unrest since February when protesters took to the streets, inspired by successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
The Sunni monarchy controlling Bahrain allowed the rally in a bid to ease tensions and open dialogue with Shiite-led groups. For opposition forces, the gathering was a chance to voice their demands and show resolve after facing relentless pressure from the Western-backed government, including martial law-style rules removed earlier this month.