Clashes stir tension in Bahrain’s capital
Flames are seen from a molotov cocktail thrown by protesters in front of riot police during clashes in the village of Sitra south of Manama on Jan. 1. REUTERS photoRiot police in Bahrain fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades as they clashed Jan. 1 with hundreds of opposition supporters, some hurling Molotov cocktails, following the politically charged funeral of a 15-year-old boy.
Thousands of opposition supporters carrying Bahraini flags and chanting anti-government slogans converged on the island of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, to mourn the death of Sayed Hashim Saeed. They are demanding that police be tried for the deaths of some 40 people since protests began in February. The country’s Shiite-led opposition is pressing for greater rights and reforms from the country’s Sunni monarchy. The opposition says the teenager died Dec. 31 after a tear gas canister fired at close range hit him in the chest. Jaffer al-Sheik, 40, who identified himself as a relative of Saeed, said the canister fired by riot police caused burns on Saeed’s chest arm and head. The Interior Ministry has raised questions about the circumstances of Saeed’s death, saying that burns on the boy’s body could not have come from a tear gas canister. It has asked the public prosecutor to investigate. A statement signed by six opposition groups condemned Sunday’s attack on the funeral procession. “We call on the government to stop its policy of repression,” the statement said. Also Jan. 1, Bahrain’s new police chief announced that the kingdom would hire an additional 500 police officers “from all sections of Bahrain society,” according to a statement from the country’s Information Affairs Authority. The official, Tariq Alhassan, said the extra officers would work only in communities from where they were recruited.
Compiled form Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.