Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have staged an anti-regime demonstration ahead of a Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Persian Gulf country.
On Friday, around 200,000 men and women marched along 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) on a highway west of the capital Manama.
The demonstration had been organized by al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition party.
The protesters, who were carrying national flags and posters, chanted pro-democracy slogans and called for the release of prisoners jailed during regime crackdown on protests.
“The people demand democracy and reject tyranny,” a poster read in Arabic and English.
Anti-regime protesters have held similar rallies every year since 2011. They say the Formula One governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), should cancel the event in Bahrain over the ongoing crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime against peaceful protests.
Rights activists also say that the Formula One event is used as a political tool by Manama to make the world believe that the situation in the country is normal.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.
Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.