Bahrain opposition rejects dialogue with rulers
Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group on Saturday rejected dialogue with rulers, after violence erupted the day before when security shot at protesters in the capital, Manama, DPA reported.
Khalil Ibrahim al-Marzook, a senior member of the Islamic National Accord Association, or Al Wifaq block, told Al Jazeera television that they would not hold any dialogue until "tanks are off the streets" and "the army stops shooting at peaceful protesters."
Several protesters were injured on Friday when the army fired live ammunition at demonstrators near Lulu Square in Manama. Thousands of mourners had turned out for the funerals of four protesters killed in clashes with police the day before.
There was no clear casualty count available on Saturday. Health Minister Faisal Ben Yacoub Al Hamar said that six people had been injured overnight to Saturday. But doctors at Salmaniya hospital, where people injured have been taken over the past few days, said they had received at least 66 injured people.
Video footage posted Friday on the internet showed several protesters with shot wounds to the legs. Others were seen with blood covering their heads.
Several hundred people were still protesting on Saturday morning in front of Salmaniya hospital. More protests were planned around the country though the army was occupying Lulu Square to prevent further demonstrations.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa asked the crown prince to lead a national dialogue with all parties and sections of Bahrain.
"We need a period of time to assess what has happened so that we can regroup and gather together, regain our compassion, civilisation and future," crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, said on Bahrain national television Friday.
Bahrain's protesters had initially called for democratic reforms, but they have upped that call to nothing less than a regime change.
More than 80 per cent of the million-strong population is Muslim - two-thirds are Shiites, while the ruling family are Sunnis. Many Shiites feel discriminated against.