(Adds Khamenei tweet, background)
GENEVA, July 31 (Reuters) – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday the will of the people would prevail in Bahrain after protests there following the execution of two Shi’ite Muslim Bahraini activists over the weekend.
Bahrain accuses mainly Shi’ite Iran of stoking militancy in the kingdom, which Tehran denies. Bahrain, a strategic island where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based, has a Shi’ite Muslim majority population but is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family.
“Oppression and force will not remain and the choice and will of justice-seeking people will ultimately be victorious,” Khamenei wrote in a message posted on his official Arabic-language Twitter account, along with a picture of the two activists who were killed.
The protests marked the most significant unrest in more than two years in Bahrain since authorities executed three Shi’ite men convicted of killing three policemen in a bomb attack.
Bahrain is the only one of the Gulf Arab monarchies to have experienced serious unrest during the Arab Spring pro-democracy demonstrations that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. (Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh Editing by Mark Heinrich)