On Thursday, June 15, a court sentenced 26 Shi'as to jail terms ranging from 15 years to life for the attempted murder of policemen. The defendants were found guilty of forming a "terrorist group" between 2011 and 2013 and attempting to carry out the assassinations in the Shi'a village of Diraz, located west of the capital Manama.
The court ruling could potentially result in protests in Shi'a villages. Anti-government demonstrations by the Shi'a community and associated clashes have become frequent since March 2011, when security forces crushed nationwide protests demanding political reforms. Protests called for by Shi'a opposition groups are set to take place on Friday, June 16, in Barbar at 22:00 (local time) and in Karranah at 23:00.
Bahrain's Shi'a Muslims accuse the royal family and the government of marginalizing their community. Protests often take place in locations across Bahrain on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. As public demonstrations are not authorized by the Bahraini authorities, police units regularly use force and tear gas to disperse crowds. Protesters often respond by throwing Molotov cocktails, detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs), attempting to block roads, or burning tires.
Individuals present in Bahrain are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations and to keep abreast of the situation.