Thousands of Bahrainis protest 'naturalisation'
MANAMA - Thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the kingdom's naturalisation policy, which some say is aimed at changing the demographics of the Shiite-majority country.
"Bahrain, free, free! Naturalised people get out!", the demonstrators chanted as they marched, waving Bahraini flags.
The Bahrain Youth Movement said in a statement that the demonstration would be against "naturalisation... to change the demographics of the country."
Demonstrators massed at Manama's Ras Roman mosque before setting off on foot past the government building that deals with nationality, passports and residency.
Bahrain is a Shiite-majority country ruled by a Sunni dynasty.
Its government has been rocked by anti-regime protests for more than three weeks, following a wave of pro-democracy unrest in the Arab world that has toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.
On Wednesday, Bahrainis shouted a variety of anti-government slogans, including the now-ubiquitous, "The people want to topple the regime!"
They also chanted about Sunni-Shiite unity, to emphasise the protest against the government's naturalisation policy was not against Bahrain's native minority Sunni population.
Demonstrators are keeping vigil in hundreds of tents in Manama's Pearl Square, which has become the epicentre of anti-government protests.