Bahrain Protest Leader: Anti-Monarchy Option Open

A senior opposition leader says he would support demands to oust Bahrain's monarchy if that becomes the overwhelming sentiment of protesters.

A female anti-government protester holds a banner during a protest at the Bahrain Financial Habour in Manama, March 7, 2011.

A senior opposition leader says he would support demands to oust Bahrain's monarchy if that becomes the overwhelming sentiment of protesters.

Bahraini Shiite women protest in front of the US embassy in Manama on March 7, 2011 calling for Washington to press Bahraini authorities for democratic reform after weeks of demonstrations. Pictures on sign show Gulf leaders: Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa Omans Sultan Qaboos, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

The statement by Hassan Mushaima to The Associated Press appears to open the door for a more hard-line approach by key opposition factions. It also could further complicate appeals by Bahrain's rulers to hold negotiations to ease the three-week-old unrest.

An unidentified Bahraini holds a protest sign Monday, March 7, 2011, outside the U.S. Embassy in Manama, Bahrain, where about 150 people demonstrated urging the United States to stop supporting the Al Khalifa regime.

Mushaima says he would fall behind calls to topple the 200-year-old Sunni Muslim dynasty if that becomes the main cry from the Shiite-led protesters. Bahrain's majority Shiites have long complained of discrimination and other abuses.

Bahraini anti-government protesters sit in the shade of a palm tree Thursday, March 3, 2011, at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain. The Shiite opposition groups seeking to loosing the Sunni monarchy's grip on power in Bahrain are ready to talk to the Gulf nation's rulers about political change after weeks of protest, a leading opposition figure said Thursday.

Mushaima made the comments before a planned news conference later Tuesday.

AP