DUBAI: Protesters calling for the overthrow of Bahrain’s ruling Sunni monarchy clashed with police across several Shia villages overnight, witnesses said yesterday without reporting casualties.
“Down with Hamad,” hundreds chanted of H M King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, whose family has ruled the kingdom for decades.
The protesters hurled stones and petrol bombs at policemen who responded by firing buckshot, tear gas, and sound grenades, the sources said.
The protests were held in response to a call issued by the opposition February 14 Coalition youth group.
“Security forces countered a terrorist group in (the Shia village of) Bani Jamra and several members were arrested,” the interior ministry on its Twitter account late on Thursday.
Authorities refer to the demonstrators as “terrorists”.
Another “terrorist group had placed a homemade bomb in Bilad Qadim (another Shia town) which exploded as they were attempting to plant it,” said the ministry.
At least 40 Bahraini prisoners were hurt yesterday when security forces used batons, tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades against inmates protesting over their conditions, an activist said.
The Interior Ministry said security forces had restored order after a number of detainees rioted.
Sayed Al Muhafada of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said he had received a call from inside the prison telling him that around 100 prisoners, most held for terrorism offences, were protesting over being deprived of family visits and other grievances.