Police fire teargas on hundreds of protesters in Bahrain


Bahraini Shiite Muslim women hold portraits of opposition prisoner, Nabeel Rajab during a demonstration in the village of Karzakan, South of the capital Manama, on May 11, 2012 to demand release of jailed opposition activists.


Mohammed al-Shaikh

Security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in Manama today, riot police using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds, according to the Associated Press

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The demonstration, which had not been pre-approved by the Gulf kingdom's ruling Sunni monarchy, was lead by the daughter of jailed opposition leader Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, whose case has sparked international outcry. AP said many protesters were also demanding the release of activist Nabeel Rajab.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the number of people detained. Some witnesses told reporters nearly a dozen people were arrested, while others took their accounts to Twitter:  

A separate opposition march outside the capital today involved thousands of people, reported Reuters. The rally was permitted by the authorities and was organized by the main political opposition group al-Wefaq. Protesters marched under the slogan, “Stop the shedding of our blood, we will not give up our demands," according to Reuters

Anti-government unrest in Bahrain, which has a majority Shiite population, began in tandem with the Arab Spring. It has continued unabated despite efforts by country's Sunni leaders to downplay the crisis. 

The strategically-positioned Gulf nation hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.