Bahrain deports 6 US citizens for joining riots

Bahrain deports 6 US citizens for joining riots

Bahrain deports 6 US citizens for joining riots

A Bahraini protester fixes her tear gas mask as she participates in a protest. REUTERS Photo

Bahrain has deported six U.S. citizens for joining pro-democracy demonstrations, a statement said yesterday, as dozens arrested and wounded on the first anniversary of a Shiite-led uprising.

The deportations bring the number of Americans expelled from Bahrain to eight after two human rights activists were ordered out the country on Feb. 11 after being accused of “illegal” activities. The six “activists” who were deported had entered the country on tourist visas in the past week and were sent home after “participating in illegal demonstrations,” an Information Affairs Authority statement said.

The expulsions came as Bahrain on Feb. 14 marked the first anniversary of last year’s uprising against the government, and the brutal crackdown that followed which left 35 people dead, according to an independent commission of inquiry into the violence.

The main Shiite opposition Al-Wefaq said Bahraini police made dozens of arrests while dispersing protesters attempting to march on the capital’s former Pearl Square, the focal point of the Feb. 14 uprising that was crushed a month later. “The total number of arrests ... is around 150, including women and children between the ages of 13 and 16,” the statement said adding that some were later released.

Al-Wefaq said there were “large numbers of injuries to the demonstrators caused by birdshot pellets, tear gas canisters, stun grenades,” but gave no figure. A medic who works with researchers of an international organization said there were over 100 cases and 37 of them are bad, with head injuries and fractures.

The medic said some casualties had been hit by birdshot pellets, which Bahraini police deny using. Most of the wounded are treated in village homes or private health clinics because majority Shi’ite protesters fear they will be arrested if they go to government hospitals.

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.