Shiite rioters in Bahrain dispersed
Bahraini security forces yesterday dispersed several hundred Shiite demonstrators who gathered outside the capital Manama for the fourth day in a row.
Riot police stormed a roundabout on the Budaiya highway where men and women had gathered and chanted slogans against the government of the Sunni-ruled kingdom. On Dec. 15, female blogger Zainab al-Khawaja was roughed up, handcuffed and dragged off into custody from the same roundabout for refusing to end a sit-in. Police fired tear gas yesterday before they used batons to chase demonstrators out of the area.
Shiite youth groups had called for a series of consecutive protests on the highway which links Shiite villages with Manama’s former Pearl Square, the focal point of a month-long pro-democracy uprising that was crushed in March.
The crackdown comes even after Bahrain’s government promised reforms following the publication last month of a highly critical report into the protests in February and March. The report said the death toll from the crackdown on the Shiite-led pro-democracy protests had reached 35, and that police had used “excessive force” and tortured detainees.