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Massive Protest In Bahrain Despite Royal Amnesty

Women walk toward Pearl Square for a demonstration in Manama on February 21.
Tens of thousands of supporters of Bahrain's Shi'ite-led opposition have poured into the streets of the capital, Manama, calling for the government's departure in the largest rally since the protests first broke out last week.

Protesters gathered in Manama's Pearl Square even though King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa earlier today ordered the release of political prisoners.

The small but strategic Persian Gulf island state, host to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, has a majority-Shi'ite population but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy.

State news agency BNA reported that the names of those included in the king's pardon will be announced today.

compiled from agency reports