BREAKING NEWS

Bahrain holds elections with ban on opposition groups

DUBAI - Bahrainis vote on Saturday in a parliamentary election from which opposition groups have been barred in a crackdown on dissent in the Western-allied kingdom as tensions with the Shi'ite Muslim opposition show no signs of abating.
Activists have called for a boycott of what they describe as "farce" elections, raising doubts about the credibility of the polls. The government says the elections are democratic.
Bahrain's Sunni-Muslim ruling Al Khalifa family has kept a lid on dissent since the Shi'ite opposition staged a failed uprising in 2011. Saudi Arabia sent in troops to help crush the unrest in a mark of concern that any power-sharing concession by Bahrain could inspire Saudi Arabia's own Shi'ite minority.
Riyadh regards the neighboring island nation, which does not possess vast oil wealth like other Gulf states, as a critical ally in its proxy wars with Iran in the Middle East.
Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has closed the main opposition groups, barred their members from running in elections and prosecuted scores of people, many described by human rights groups as activists, in mass trials.
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