Bahrain opposition leader arrested
Manama (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Bahrain's main opposition movement, al-Wefaq, says its leader has been arrested after a day of questioning at the interior ministry. Sheikh Ali Salman was summoned for questioning about "violating certain aspects of law," the ministry said. His lawyer says he has been accused of "inciting hatred against the regime".
Mr Salman joined thousands of Shia Muslims at a protest in the capital Manama on Friday, demanding the dismissal of government and parliament. Shia-dominated demonstrations against the Sunni monarchy, have been continuing for the past three years, with thousands arrested.
Bahrain, a US ally supported by Riyadh, has been torn by protests since early 2011, following the outbreak of the Arab Spring in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The country's Shia majority is behind widespread dissent, demanding greater freedom and recognition from the Sunni-dominated authorities. So far however, the government has chosen to crack down violently, effectively nullifying attempts at a "national dialogue".
The questioning of Mr Salman is likely to be connected with the legal status of al-Wefaq, which was banned after it announced it was boycotting last month's parliamentary elections. In a statement, al-Wefaq described Mr Salman's arrest as "a perilous and arbitrary adventure which will seriously complicate the political and security scene in Bahrain".