TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Bahraini people from all walks of life poured into the streets in various cities of the Persian Gulf country to condemn a life sentence handed to prominent opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and Manama’s attempts to normalize ties with Israel.

In the “Friday of Rage” protests, held in various areas of Bahrain, the protesters expressed their sympathy with Sheikh Salman, the secretary general of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, who was recently sentenced to life in prison.

The demonstrators also voiced their anger over the Al Khalifa regime’s efforts to normalize relations with Israel.

The senior Bahraini cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what Manama has called “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.

Sheikh Salman denies all the charges, saying he has merely been seeking reforms in the country through peaceful means.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups have censured his arrest and called for his release.

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.