Bahrain's main opposition movement Al Wefaq said on Tuesday authorities had suspended its activities for three months, ahead of a November parliamentary election which the group has already pledged to boycott.
The reported move appeared to be the result of a court case brought by the government in July against the organisation, arguing it had broken the law and its own statutes.
Wefaq said two weeks ago it would not take part in the November poll because the elected parliament would not have enough power and because voting districts favoured the Gulf Arab kingdom's ruling Sunni minority.
But it still condemned the suspension as "irrational and irresponsible". In a statement in English it said the government appeared to be "moving to destroy political and social life by blocking the people out."
There was no immediate comment from Bahraini authorities.
Wefaq, which has strong links to Bahrain's Shi'ite majority, won 18 out of 40 parliamentary seats in a 2010 election, but pulled out of parliament a year later during a crackdown against mostly Shi'ite Muslim protesters demanding greater democracy.
Since those February 2011 demonstrations, Bahrain has been shaken by low-level unrest.
Stalled reconciliation talks between the al-Khalifa ruling family and the Shi'ite opposition were revived early this year but later appeared to stall following prosecutions of Wefaq officials on a variety of charges.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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