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Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain have formed a huge human chain around the capital, Manama, as their campaign to loosen the Sunni monarchy’s grip on power in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

No police were in sight Saturday as protesters — men and women — held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain’s Shiite majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf kingdom, the host of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, since a street battle between Sunnis and Shiites on Thursday left at least a dozen people injured.

Organizers say some members of the Sunni minority joined Saturday’s event. AP

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