Rallies ahead of Bahrain revolution anniversary

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DUBAI: Anti-regime protesters in Bahrain hold overnight rallies in defiance of a standing government ban on such protests as the second anniversary of the anti-government uprising in the country draws closer.

Rallies were staged in several towns and villages across the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom on Monday. 

The demonstrators chanted slogans, calling for the downfall of the Al Khalifa regime. 

In the village of Malikiyah, located some 18 kilometers southwest of Manama, Saudi-backed Bahraini forces fired tear gas and used shotguns to disperse the anti-regime protesters. 

The revolution began in mid-February 2011 when people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.

The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states to assist the suppressive campaign. 

Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries. 

A report, published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011, found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters. 

The protesters say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically-elected government is met. Agencies

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