Bahraini protestors hold signs calling for the boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections as they stand in front of riot police during a rally in the Shiite village of Diraz, west of Manama on November 21, 2014. (AFP/Mohammed al-Shaikh)
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Voting began Saturday in Bahrain's first legislative elections since a failed pro-democracy uprising in 2011, with the opposition boycotting the polls in the tiny Gulf monarchy.Bahrain, a key U.S. ally, remains divided nearly four years after security forces in the Sunni-ruled kingdom quelled Arab Spring-inspired protests led by majority Shiites. On the eve of elections, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of the Shiite village of Diraz in support of the boycott, with police firing tear gas to disperse them."Boycott! Boycott!" they chanted. Al-Wefaq withdraw its 18 lawmakers after a violent crackdown on demonstrators by security forces.Salman said he did not expect the opposition to reach an agreement with the government, following Shiite-led protests he said had cost "at least 100 lives" over the past three years.
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