Bahrain police disperse Shiite-led march: activist

Jun 3, 2011

DUBAI — Bahraini police dispersed a small group of Shiites who marched Friday towards Pearl Square, focal point of protests which the regime demolished during a crackdown on protesters in mid-March, activists said.

“Some protesters tried to march Friday towards the Pearl Square, but the police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them,” said Nabil Rajab, a Shiite rights and opposition activist, reached by telephone.

The square had been the epicenter of protests inspired by uprisings that have swept the Arab world until it was demolished.

Other rallies Friday were dispersed in several Shiite villages surrounding the capital Manama but no casualties were reported, Rajab said.

The protests came after Bahrain lifted a state of emergency that was enacted on March 15.

Shiite-majority Bahrain was rocked by a month of street protests from mid-February which the Sunni-dominated authorities crushed with the help of the military intervention of its Arab neighbors in the Gulf.

Authorities said 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in the unrest.

Under the state of emergency, security forces cracked down on Shiite villages, arresting hundreds of people, many of whom have been referred to special courts.

Activists had called for the protests on the “February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition” page of Facebook.

The upheavals caused the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix which had been due to be staged in March.

But Formula One’s ruling body the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council announced on Friday that the race had been reinstated and would now take place in Manama on October 30.

The green light was given after a visit by an FIA delegation to assess conditions in Bahrain this week.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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