Bahrain opposition fears expanded crackdowns over calls for protest surge

  • Updated: July 15, 2013 - 8:05 AM

MANAMA, Bahrain — Opposition groups in Bahrain are appealing for authorities to call off crackdown warnings over plans for a major anti-government rally next month.

Protest factions in the Gulf nation have called for large demonstrations Aug. 14 inspired by the toppling of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi.

Bahrain has been wracked by 29 months of near nonstop unrest as majority Shiites seek a greater political voice in the strategic Sunni-ruled kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Authorities have vowed a harsh response to next month's planned demonstrations, apparently fearing it could sharply escalate the ongoing street clashes.

A joint statement by five opposition groups Monday urged authorities to remove the threats and allow the "right for peaceful protest." It also expressed worries over possible arrest sweeps.

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