About 200 protesters threw petrol bombs during pitched battles with police, damaging cars, but failed to stop the 22 October concert by Nancy Ajram. Police arrested 16, six of whom were freed on lack of evidence.

   

"The accusation against them was read, charging them with disturbing the peace and destroying public properties," attorney Hasan Ismail, who represented four of the 10, said, adding, "They all denied the charges."

 

Provocative

   

Islamist deputies in the Gulf Arab state's parliament had demanded the concert should be banned, accusing the singer of flouting Islamic values with her "provocative" performance.

   

The 10 defendants were freed on bail. The trial continues on 11 November.

   

Pro-Western Bahrain, headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet, has often seen protests against the US-led invasion in Iraq and Washington's perceived pro-Israeli policies.

   

The demonstrations were mostly staged by the kingdom's Shia Muslim majority, which spearheaded bouts of unrest in the 1980s and 1990s against the Sunni-dominated government.

   

The small island state, the Gulf's banking hub, has launched reforms including pardoning political prisoners.