Protesters hold pictures of detainee Jaffar Mohammed Jaffar during a protest over his death at a hospital, ahead of his funeral in the village of Daih, west of Manama, yesterday.
MANAMA: Bahraini police fired teargas and stun grenades at hundreds of protesters throwing stones and petrol bombs in a Shia village on Friday after the funeral of a young man who died in custody, a witness said.
The Gulf Arab nation, home to the US Fifth Fleet, has suffered low-level civil unrest since mass protests in 2011 led by majority Shias demanding reforms and a bigger share of power in the Sunni-led island kingdom.
Jaafar Mohammed Jaafar, 23, who was detained in December and accused of smuggling weapons, died of illness in custody on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said, the second death of a person held on security-related charges this year.
Rights campaigners have not disputed that Jaafar had died as a result of an illness, but the main opposition Al Wefaq group said he had been denied medical treatment, and one activist said he had been tortured, accusations the ministry has denied.
Thousands of people attended Jaafar’s funeral in the village of Daih, west of the capital Manama.
Protesters later threw rocks, metal rods and petrol bombs at riot police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The Interior Ministry said on its Twitter feed: “Police dispersed a breakaway group of vandals that diverted from the funeral route in Daih.” It gave no further details.
Demonstrations and clashes with security forces erupt frequently in Bahrain, while negotiations between the government and opposition aimed at ending the unrest have stalled.