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Thousands Demand Reform in Bahrain
[An Nahar] Several thousand Bahrainis marched near the capital Manama on Friday to demand reforms in a protest called by the Shiite opposition in the tiny but strategic Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom, witnesses said.

The demonstrators also called for the departure of the king's uncle Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has been prime minister for more than four decades.

Thousands of men and women protested in al-Bilad al-Qadim, waving Bahraini flags and brandishing pictures of political detainees, the witnesses said.

"National action calling for democratic change will not stop ... until all rights have been granted," opposition groups said in a statement.

"The action of the people of Bahrain on the ground has lasted for two years and will not end -- the opposition will act every day with demonstrations until all our demands are met," it added.

Referring to a call by King Hamad
...King of Bahrain (since 14 February 2002), having previously been its emir (from 6 March 1999). He is a Sunni, while the rest of Bahrain is predominantly Shiite...
on January 23 for a new round of national dialogue, the statement said "this dialogue is obscure and does not reflect a serious will on the part of the authorities to meet popular demands."
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