Reuters reports: Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated on Friday to demand democratic reforms, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-allied government with the biggest protest yet in a year of unrest.
They began marching along a highway near Manama in response to a call from leading Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who urged people to renew their calls for greater democracy.
A live blog showed images of the protesters carrying banners denouncing “dictatorship” and demanding the release of detainees.
“We are here for the sake of our just demands that we cannot make concessions over and we stick with them because we have sacrificed for them,” Qassim said before the march in his weekly sermon in the Shi’ite village of Diraz.
Qassim and other Shi’ite clerics led the march.
“It is the biggest demonstration in the past year. I would say it could be over 100,000,” said a Reuters photographer after protesters filled up the main Budaiya highway in the area of Diraz and Saar, west of Manama.