The tumult in a region normally kept tranquil under
the heavy-handed security of conservative Gulf regimes underscored the
widening reverberations of new pro-democracy movements in the
The smell of tear gas was in the air in central
Those who shouted out slogans such as "Death to the
Dictator!" were grabbed by police or plainclothes militia, triggering
clashes that in some cases involved young demonstrators beating
security personnel. Despite massive police attempts to block access,
hundreds of demonstrators made it into
Along the parade route, about 200 protesters mounted the pedestrian bridge west of
Protesters there were not calling for the collapse of the Sunni monarchy, which oversees a nation that is predominantly Shiite. They instead were seeking a new constitution; an investigation into corruption, torture and purported attempts to suppress the Shiite majority by naturalizing new Sunni citizens; and the release of up to 500 political prisoners, many of them under the age of 18.
"We call on all Bahraini people — men, woman, boys and girls — to share in our rallies in a peaceful and civilized way to guarantee a stable and promising future for ourselves and our children," Bahraini activists said in a statement.
"We would like to stress that
At least 14 people reportedly were injured in clashes earlier in the day and on Sunday outside the capital, especially in the area of Karzakan.
Demonstrators were being attacked with broken
bottles, daggers and rocks by several hundred government supporters,
many waving Yemeni flags and photos of
Human Rights Watch complained that police had used electric Tasers against citizens in an attempt to quell the protests.
(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.
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