[QODLink]
Middle East

Bahraini protesters clash with police

Thousands rally in village of Diraz to demonstrate against a raid last week on a top Shia cleric's home.

Last Modified: 25 May 2013 03:50
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Thousands of anti-government protesters have rallied in Bahrain to demonstrate against a raid last week on a top cleric's home.

Shia protesters in the village of Diraz, west of the capital Manama, threw stones at hundreds of riot police who responded with tear gas and water cannons, a witness said on Friday.

The violence continued for more than an hour before the demonstrators dispersed.

The raid by security forces on the home of Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim on May 17 infuriated the Shia opposition and drew condemnation from neighbouring Shia power Iran.

The Gulf Island nation, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been at the centre of a series of pro-democracy protests over the past two years and has become a hot spot in a region-wide tussle for influence between Iran and Sunni Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.

The mass protests were crushed but smaller demonstrations continue, led by Bahrain's Shia majority, who want the Gulf Arab state's Sunni rulers to call elections and create a constitutional monarchy.

The raid on the ayatollah's house prompted main opposition group Al-Wefaq to announce on Wednesday that it would withdraw from reconciliation talks with the government for two weeks.

Thousands gathered in the cleric's village on Friday for a peaceful sit-in against their Sunni-led government.

Protesters at the sit-in, called by Al-Wefaq and authorised by the government, waved Bahraini flags and held up images of Sheikh Issa.

Police say the raid on the cleric's home was not targeted but occurred during a security operation in the same neighbourhood.

258

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.