Protests hit Bahrain after activists sentenced

Bahraini Shiite Muslims chant slogans to free prisoners during a sermon Friday, June 10, 2011, in Diraz, Bahrain, when Sheik Issa Qassem, Bahrain's top Shiite cleric, said Bahrain should free political prisoners and that the nation's reputation is being damaged by prosecuting doctors, teachers, youths, women, clerics and other professionals arrested during the crackdown on anti-government protesters. Many Shiite Muslim clerics, including Sheik Ali Salman, leader of the largest opposition party, attended midday prayers in Diraz, an unusual move to show their solidarity with Qassem. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

June 22, 2011 9:47:33 AM PDT
A Bahraini security court sentenced eight Shiite activists to life in prison Wednesday, triggering the first major protests in months by hundreds of anti-government demonstrators demanding political freedoms and equal rights from the Sunni monarchy.

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