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Sun 11 Dec 2011 09:14 AM

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Pro-govt Bahrain marchers graffiti Waad headquarters

Slogans such as ‘down with Iran’ emblazoned on building of Bahraini opposition party

Pro-govt Bahrain marchers graffiti Waad headquarters
A Bahraini Shiite girl makes the victory sign during an anti-government rally

Dozens of pro-government demonstrators marched to the
offices of a Bahraini opposition party on Saturday and daubed the building with
grafitti against majority Shi'ites and Iran, residents said.

They said "Down with Iran" and "Shi'ites get
out" were among the slogans written on the offices of Waad, a secular
party aligned with the largest Shi'ite opposition group Wefaq which was at the
forefront of protests
against the Sunni-led government this year.

US-allied Bahrain has accused Shi'ite power Iran of
instigating unrest among Shi'ites in the Gulf Arab kingdom, an allegation
Tehran denies.

"Police stopped them from entering. They dispersed
after leaving pictures of King Hamad and the prime minister outside the Waad
headquarters," a resident said.

"This building had been burned down twice, and we had
just repaired it. So we were afraid that may be repeated. But police were there
and nothing happened," said Radhi al-Musawi, Waad's deputy secretary-general.

Inspired by Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia and Egypt,
thousands of mainly Shi'ite Bahrainis took to the streets in February and March
demanding curbs on the power of the ruling Sunni Muslim Al-Khalifa family.

The protest wave was suppressed with the help of military
forces brought in from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain hosts
the US Fifth Fleet.

A government-appointed commission of international jurists
found evidence of systematic abuses against detained protesters.

Bahrain has hired US and British police chiefs to lead the
reform of security agencies.

There has been no progress in talks between the government
and opposition groups on political reform and the Gulf Arab island state
remains tense, with daily clashes between riot police and Shi'ite protesters.

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