Bahraini security forces on Wednesday fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration by Shiites who were marching towards the centre of the capital, the opposition and witnesses said.
The protesters — who numbered in their thousands according to the opposition and 350 according to officials — were heading to Manama’s Pearl Square, epicentre of an anti-government movement.
After setting out from the village of Al-Daih, the protesters marched towards the city centre chanting “We want the regime to fall” and “We are returning to Pearl Square,” said a witness who requested anonymity.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators, the witness said.
Mohammed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, told AFP that security forces had also used rubber bullets.
“Many people were affected,” Maskati said.
A protester who asked not to be identified said he had been wounded by a rubber bullet, but that he would not go to hospital for fear of being arrested.
In a statement on its Twitter page, the interior ministry said: “About 350 individuals took part in illegal procession on Al-Budaiya road after (Shiite Ashura) rituals in Daih. Police interfered.”
Sunni-ruled Bahrain was rocked by Shiite-led democracy protests between mid-February and mid-March, when they were crushed by security forces backed by its Gulf neighbours.