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Middle East

Bahrain policeman dies after bomb blast

Two blasts went off during demonstrations to mark third anniversary of kingdom's anti-government uprising.

Last updated: 15 Feb 2014 12:05
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Several arrests have been reported by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the interior ministry [EPA]

Bahraini authorities said that a policeman has died of wounds he suffered in a bomb blast during protests marking the third anniversary of the kingdom's anti-government uprising.

A "terrorist explosion" struck in the Shia village of Dair outside the capital Manama and wounded two on-duty policemen late on Friday, including the one who later died , the interior ministry said on Twitter.

It was the second reported blast during the protests commemorating the third year of Shia-led opposition protests demanding a constitutional monarchy in the Sunni minority-ruled kingdom.

Earlier, the ministry reported another explosion in a village called Daih, which caused minor damage to a bus transporting police personnel, pictures posted on Twitter showed.

Protesters who gathered in several Shia villages on Friday to march towards the Pearl Roundabout, a symbolically important area for the uprising, were met with tear gas and bird shot from security forces, according to witnesses who spoke to the Agence-France Press news agency.

Scores killed

Shia villages have been at the forefront of the campaign calling for the ruling Khalifa family to surrender its grip on all key cabinet posts in favour of an elected government. The opposition had called for three days of protests from Thursday to mark the anniversary of the uprising.

Tens of arrests have been reported by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and the interior ministry.

The Pearl Roundabout’s namesake monument was demolished in March 2011 and the site has been heavily guarded since.

At least 89 people have been killed in the three years since the uprising started, according to the International Federation for Human Rights. At one point, neighbouring Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, sent troops to Bahrain to help quell the protests.

Previous   rounds of national dialogues have failed  to significantly heal the rifs between the two sides and the opposition is demanding amnesty for what they claim are more than 3,000 political prisoners held in Bahraini jails.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa met top opposition leaders last month to once again revive the talks.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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