Bahrain police fire tear gas at protesters

2012-02-14 09:01
Bahraini anti-government protesters react to tear gas fired by riot police on the main highway into the capital of Manama, Bahrain. (Hasan Jamali, AP)

Bahraini anti-government protesters react to tear gas fired by riot police on the main highway into the capital of Manama, Bahrain. (Hasan Jamali, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Uprising
    Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy? Now R350.00
    buy now

Manama - Security forces in Bahrain have fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters trying to occupy a landmark square in the nation's capital ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Gulf kingdom's Shi'ite-led uprising.

On Monday, thousands of opposition supporters marched through Manama's streets in the largest attempt in months to retake Pearl Square, the central roundabout that served as the epicenter of weeks of protests last year by Bahrain's Shi'ite majority against the ruling Sunni dynasty.

Thousands of riot police and other security forces have staked out positions around the square and also across the Gulf island nation to prevent the opposition from staging a mass rally in or near the plaza to mark Tuesday's one-year anniversary of the revolt.

Opposition supporters were undeterred by the authorities' warnings of zero tolerance for anti-government activities in the strategic island that is the home of the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

"We will not back down," said Nader Abdulimam, who had taken refuge in a house just outside of Manama with other protesters overcome by tear gas. "This has gone on for one year and it will go for another year or more."

Some protesters hurled firebombs and rocks after the security forces fired tear gas. In an area about 10km west of central Manama, some demonstrators stood atop Bahrain's ancient burial mounds - some more than 5 000 years old - waving flags featuring the image of Pearl Square's six-pronged monument.

Monument razed

More than 50 police vehicles filled a site that protesters have dubbed "Freedom Square", which hosted several government-sanctioned opposition gatherings last week.

After the government imposed martial law last March in response to the demonstrations, security forces stormed the protesters' encampment at the landmark square in a bid to crush the uprising. The authorities then razed the towering white monument that stood in the center of the plaza.

The now heavily guarded square holds great symbolic value for Bahrain's opposition movement, and protesters have repeatedly tried to reoccupy it. But authorities have effectively locked off the capital to demonstrations since March.

Emergency rule was lifted in June, but street battles between security forces and protesters still flare up almost every day in the predominantly Shi'ite villages around the capital.

At least 40 people have been killed during months of unprecedented political unrest in Bahrain, the Gulf country hardest hit by upheaval during last year's Arab Spring protests.

 Neighboring Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf states dispatched troops to Bahrain in March to help crush the protests.

Reforms promised

Shi'ites account for about 70% of Bahrain's population of about 525 000 people, but say they have faced decades of discrimination and are blocked from top political and security posts.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers have promised reforms, although they refused to make the far-reaching changes the protesters and the main Shi'ite group, Al Wefaq, have demanded. These include ending the monarchy's ability to select the government and set key state policies.

US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland expressed concern over the violence on Monday and said Washington wants to see demonstrators stage peaceful protests and for security forces to "exercise restraint and operate within the rule of law and international judicial standards".

In London, Amnesty International noted that Bahrain's leaders have taken some steps toward easing tensions in the past year, including reinstating hundreds of workers dismissed for protesting and ending military-run tribunals.

The group urged more measures to show that the steps were "more than a public relations exercise".

Amnesty called for releasing prisoners held on protest-related offenses and moving ahead with investigations into alleged abuses by security forces and others.

 

- AP

Read more on:    bahrain  |  uprisings  |  bahrain protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2775.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.