Ban on Shiite Friday Prayers in Bahrain’s Diraz hits 70-week

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A ban on Shiite Friday prayers in Bahrain’s Diraz hit the 70-week mark as the kingdom’s security forces tightened their siege on the village.

Armored vehicles were deployed to cordon off Diraz’s Imam Al Sadiq Mosque, which used to host the largest Shiite congregation in the country.

Concrete barricades and police checkpoints were also used to restrict people’s freedom of movement throughout Diraz.

A small number of Shiite worshipers trickled into the mosque to perform individual prayers.

Diraz is home to some 30,000 people, who have been subjected to an unprecedented lockdown by Manama’s security forces since the denaturalization of Bahrain’s highest religious authority, Sheikh Isa Qassim, on June 20, 2016.

Rights groups have described the measures as collective punishment against the entire village, whose residents began a peaceful sit-in around Sheikh Qassim’s home after he was rendered stateless.

On May 23, security forces launched a bloody attack on the sit-in, killing five protesters and placing Sheikh Qassim under house arrest.

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