Despite the Manama regime threatening to confiscate the driving licenses of protesters and to bar them from driving for up to four years, hundreds of Bahrainis flooded the roads with their cars during the morning commute on Wednesday in a show of strength ahead of the parliamentary elections.
The Bahraini opposition had organized the gathering, which was named the “Dignity Blockade”.
The call to bring the traffic in central Manama to a standstill by parking cars in major streets came after the government warned of a harsh response to any attempt at disrupting the elections later this week.
Some reports, however, suggest that the gathering was planned to protest against the daily suppression of anti-regime demonstrations and to demand the reinstatement of employees sacked for joining the protest movement.
Manama is planning to hold parliamentary elections to replace the opposition lawmakers who resigned in protest to Manama’s crackdown on anti-government protesters later this week.
Eighteen Bahraini lawmakers from the main Shia opposition party, al-Wefaq, walked out of the parliament in February after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters, killing and wounding scores of them.
Al-Wefaq has boycotted the by-elections, saying that the 40-member parliament has lost its legitimacy and that it does not represent the will of the Bahraini people.
Bahrainis have been holding anti-government rallies since mid-February, demanding an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the country for over 40 years.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested in a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain, home to a huge American military installation for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.