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Bahrain opposition leader vows to defy march ban

The government has banned all rallies to battle increasing violence

Gulf News

Manama: The head of Bahrain’s main opposition group says backers will resume street protests in a direct challenge to a government ban on political gatherings.

Shaikh Ali Salman, who is head of Al Wefaq, told thousands of supporters on Saturday that peaceful marches will take place despite an order last month outlawing rallies.

The government decision brought criticism from the US and others, but Bahrain’s leaders said it was needed to battle increasing violence.

More than 55 people have died in Bahrain’s unrest since February 2011 when the opposition revived demands for a greater political voice in the kingdom.

Protest marches have eased for more than a week, as Shiites participate in ceremonies for annual religious commemorations known as Ashura.