Protesters in Bahrain march on government institutions, demand release of prisoners

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MANAMA, Bahrain — Thousands of anti-government protesters marched on the Interior Ministry in Bahrain’s capital Manama, demanding the release of all political prisoners.

Wednesday’s protest was peaceful, and a pro-government rally was planned for later in the day.

Last week, Bahrain’s king released 23 high-profile activists who had been on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the monarchy.

The Shiite opposition claims at least 200 others remain jailed for political reasons.

The Gulf nation’s embattled monarchy has felt increasing pressure as protesters have staged daily marches for change in the strategic island, the host of U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Many protesters are calling for an elected government, and demanding that Sunni royals — who have ruled Bahrain’s Shiite majority for 200 years — step aside.

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