Bahrain: Hundreds demand the release of hunger striker Al-Khawaja

UPDATE Police fired tear gas at protesters as they were heading to Pearl Square, the epicentre of last year's uprising.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Jidhafs, a town in the northern part of Bahrain on Tuesday and called on the release of political activists, including rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who has been on hunger strike for 76 days. President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab led the protest. Many women took part in the demonstration and were seen holding pictures of several political prisoners. Protesters chanted "down with Hamad" and "we want the downfall of the regime". They also called on the prime minister to step down who has been in position for 42 years. On Sunday a Bahraini court delayed the appeals trial for 14 jailed opposition activists. Amnesty International issued a statement on the same day saying that the postponement of the appeal "is toying with the life of prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike for 75 days in prison." Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hasiba Hadj Sahraoui said: “The Bahrain authorities’ delaying tactics are toying with the life of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is on death’s doorstep as he enters his 75th day on hunger strike. Al-Khawaja is serving a life sentence. He was arrested along with other activists during last year's uprising. Al-Khawaja says he will continue his hunger strike until he is released. The Shi'ite community has been protesting for democratic reforms for more than a year now. They say they feel marginalized by the Sunni regime, which has been in power for more than 200 years. According to activists 82 people have died since the beginning of the uprising in February 2011. Photo courtesy of @SAIDYOUSIF @Abu_Haider @TamtoomHalwachi

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