Bahrainis mark ‘Day of Rage’ in support of Sheikh Qassim

Bahrainis are holding anti-regime protests in different areas in solidarity with prominent Shia leader Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose health condition has seriously deteriorated under house arrest over the past days.

The February 14 Youth Coalition has called Friday the “Day of Rage,” urging the public to protest Sheikh Isa Qassem’s house arrest and his dire health conditions.

Bahrainis have held protests in recent days after news spread of Sheikh Qassim’s deteriorating health. The public has also been staging sit-ins in front of his house in Diraz.

On Thursday evening, Bahraini people took to the streets in several areas in response to a similar call by the opposition Haq Movement’s scholars.

The protest, the scholars said, should also broadcast the Bahraini people’s outrage at domestic oppression to the world.

The senior cleric’s release and treatment is “fateful and there is no room for compromise in this issue,” the statement read.

Back in June, the cleric faced expulsion from Bahrain after authorities revoked his citizenship, accusing him of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.”

They further accused him of using his position to “serve foreign interests” and promote “sectarianism and violence.” He has strongly rejected all the allegations.

Sheikh Qassem has been under house arrest for around 500 days.

Earlier this week, the UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) reported that physicians who had visited the spiritual leader at his home in the northwestern village of Diraz over the weekend had diagnosed him to be suffering from a “groin hernia requiring an emergency operation.”

Bahraini activists had also reported at the time that Sheikh Qassim was suffering constant pain and excreting blood.

United Nations Spokesman Stephane Dujarric urged on Thursday that Sheikh Qassem be released, and hoped that his physical condition be ameliorated with the help of immediate medical attention.