Thousands of Bahrainis have once again staged anti-regime protests across the country in solidarity with jailed Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman on the eve of his trial.
The protesters took to the streets on Wednesday and called for the release of Sheikh Salman, who heads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, as well as all political activists behind bars.
The demonstrations come as the Court of Appeals in Bahrain is set to resume on Thursday the trial of Salman, who is appealing a four-year sentence he has received for expressing his opinion.
Salman was detained on December 28, 2014, on charges of attempting to overthrow the ruling Al Khalifah regime and collaboration with foreign powers. He has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.
In June 2015, a Bahraini court sentenced Salman to four years in prison on charges such as insulting the Bahraini Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted of seeking regime change.
Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.
The ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful demonstrations has left scores of people dead and hundreds injured, and many more behind bars.