MANAMA: His Majesty King Hamad said that Bahrain still respects "liberties" and "tolerance," as witnesses reported that police dispersed dozens of protestors in Shiite villages.
"Bahrain will remain a nation of law, institutions, liberties and tolerance between different religions and cultures," he said in a speech marking National Day.
"Ensuring national consensus was and still is a purely Bahraini feature, without any foreign interference."
The monarch also praised the Sunni-ruled kingdom's "armed, security, and National Guard forces who are always ready" to ensure "security and stability".
As he made his speech in Manama, police fired tear gas and sound bombs to disperse dozens of youth protesters who took to the streets of several Shiite villages, witnesses said.
"Resign Khalifa," they shouted in reference to Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa — the king's uncle who has retained his post for decades.
No casualties were reported.
On Friday, thousands demonstrated in Manama chanting slogans against the regime and calling for reform.