Bahrain activists to test demo ban with US embassy rally
DUBAI (AFP) - Bahraini democracy activists, inspired by the success of street protests in Egypt, plan to demonstrate near the US embassy on Wednesday in defiance of a government ban.
The Sunni rulers of the Shiite-majority Gulf state have assumed sweeping new powers to crush demonstrations but the protest organisers insist they will go ahead regardless.
They have called on Washington to use its influence with the authorities to ensure that a pro-democracy demonstration can be held on the doorstep of its embassy without bloodshed.
Tiny but strategic Bahrain, just across the Gulf from Iran, is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet and Washington is a longstanding ally of the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty.