On December 1, the Bahraini opposition “February 14 Youth Coalition” called on all Bahrainis to hold anti-government protests all over the country. The opposition declared Friday the “day of rage” in solidarity with prominent Shia leader Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has been suffering from serious health issues while being under house arrest.
Sheikh Qassim has been under house arrest for around 500 days. The Bahraini authorities had accused Sheikh Qassim of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism”, “serve foreign interests” and promoting “sectarianism and violence”, according to the Iranian Press TV.
The UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) reported that the doctors who visited Sheikh Qassim in his house said that he needed “an emergency operation”. However, the Bahraini authorities are insisting that he should remain under the house arrest.
Sheikh Qassim was one of the key supporters and leaders of the 2011-2013 protests in Bahrain. The protestors were mainly Bahraini Shia who called for religious freedom and democratic system in Bahrain.
However, only month after the protests begin the Bahraini government received direct military support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Jordan, which deployed the Peninsula Shield Force (PSF) in Bahrain. With the direct help of the PSF, the Bahraini authorities assaulted the main Bahraini opposition protest in the area of Pearl Roundabout on March 16, 2011, ending the biggest wave of protests in the history of the country.
The Bahraini opposition said that 120 protestors were killed by security forces and the PSF during the crackdown on the Pearl Roundabout, while 2,900 other were injured. 2,929 people were arrested. The protests in Bahrain never received worldwide coverage from the mainstream media because Bahrain’s government is an ally of the US, according to Bahraini activists.