Last updated: 31 December, 2011

Bahrain police crack down on Shiite protesters

Bahraini riot police broke up a demonstration by Shiites responding to a call to protest outside their homes on Saturday, injuring some and arresting others, said a former lawmaker from the Shiite opposition movement Wefaq.

Matar Matar said the opposition February 14 movement “got broad participation in their initiative when they asked the Bahrainis to stand in front of their houses”.

“Riot police force many families to get inside their houses and many were arrested and injured. One of them is Dr Mohammed Mandeel, who was at risk today near my house when riot police were about to run over him and after this accident he was arrested,” he said in an English-language posting.

Matar, who resigned from parliament in the spring along with other opposition figures to protest against a brutal crackdown on Shiite-led pro-democracy demonstrations, also said a man from the town of Sitra was critically injured.

He added that Wefaq chief Sheikh Ali Salman called on demonstrators not to use Molotov cocktails against police, as some had done during protests on Friday.

And he said that Ali Saleh al-Saleh, one of the members of a committee charged with carrying out recommendations from an inquest on the violence, had resigned.

The commission published a report last month denouncing the “excessive and unjustified use of force” by the authorities.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry said 35 people were killed in the unrest, including five security personnel, and five detainees who were tortured to death while in custody. Hundreds were also injured.

On Wednesday, the government announced a policy of “zero tolerance” towards any abuse of political detainees, in line with the recommendations of the probe.

Bahrain has come under pressure from close ally the United States, which bases its Fifth Fleet in the Gulf island state, to bring to trial those accused of human rights violations.