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Middle East Today: Bahrain --- 10,000s Protest Raids by Security Forces


Tens of thousands of Bahrainis have staged a sit-in to protest raids by security forces, including one on the home of the Kingdom's Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim.

The sit-in was called by Al Wefaq, Bahrain's largest opposition society, which has also suspended participation in a "National Dialogue" over the raids and detentions of dissenters.

Friday's sit-in took place in Diraz near Sheikh Qassim's mosque. An observer said police had made no attempt to stop protesters entering the town. A l Wefaq had called for a peaceful demonstration and there were no reports of violence.

Earlier in the day three pro-regime political societies issued a statement denouncing a meeting between Sheik Qassim and Rashad Hussain, a senior US State Department official, on Thursday.

The societies said the meeting, the first ever between a high-ranking American official and the Shia cleric, was evidence that "the position of the state department and the American government is increasingly exposed in its support for terrorist operations in Bahrain".

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