Thousands of anti-government protesters in Bahrain have clashed with riot police firing tear gas in demonstrations against plans to make political marches illegal.

Witnesses said street battles took place in several places on Friday around the Gulf island kingdom.

Many protesters denounced plans by Bahrain to halt giving permits for opposition marches, saying they disrupt traffic and everyday life.

The kingdom has been gripped by more than 17 months of clashes between the Sunni monarchy and protesters from the kingdom's Shia majority, which claims it faces discrimination.

At least 50 people have been killed in unrest in Bahrain since February 2011.

Source: Agencies