Last updated: 20 December, 2011

Bahraini police disperse Shiite protest

Bahraini riot police on Tuesday dispersed several hundred Shiite demonstrators who gathered on a highway leading to Manama in one of increasingly frequent anti-regime protests.

Police fired tear gas at protesters who flocked to the Budaiya highway from the village of Abu Saiba, west of Manama, an AFP journalist reported.

The protest began following a memorial service for Shiite youth Ahmed Radi al-Qassab, who was run over by a car while allegedly crossing the highway to escape a riot-police patrol last week.

Police beat protesters back into the village and fired tear gas at the cemetery and inside the village as some youngsters hurled stones at security forces.

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 Shiite-led pro-democracy protests in February and March.