Political and sectarian divisons continue to widen in Bahrain [Reuters]


Bahrain’s parliament has accepted the resignations of 11 Shia opposition lawmakers, deepening the political and sectarian divisions in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported on Tuesday that the 40-member house approved the resignations of 11 Al Wefaq legislators. They and seven other lawmakers from the party submitted resignations last month over the deadly crackdown on anti-government protests.

Deliberations on the resignations of the other MPs have been postponed.

In a statement Al Wefaq called on supporters to continue challenging the Sunni monarchy's monopoly on power with acts of disobedience such as public mourning of "the martyrs who died to achieve the legitimate rights for Bahraini people".

Al Wefaq is the largest of seven opposition Shia parties.

The opposition declared Saturday an official day of mourning. It also urged people to visit the graves of those killed by government forces every Thursday starting March 31.

Bahrain's parliament is the island nation's only elected body. It holds limited authority since all the country's decisions, including appointment of government ministers, rest with the king.

Two weeks ago, Bahrain declared three-months of emergency rule in the wake of mass protests.

The mostly Shia demonstrators had been seeking reforms in the country, alleging discrimination and lack of rights.

At least 20 people were killed during a month of political unrest in the Gulf nation.

Hundreds have been detained, including seven prominent opposition leaders.

Source: Agencies