|Manama’s landmark Pearl Roundabout was the focal point of Bahrain’s protests [Ben Piven/Al Jazeera]|
Protesters in Bahrain say police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators who were trying to take back the site of the Pearl roundabout – the symbol of the protest movement that erupted in February.
Bahrainis were marking Ashoura, a day of mourning for Shia Muslims, when the decision was made on Wednesday to move towards the roundabout. Several people are said to have been injured.
Bahrain’s government tore down the Pearl Roundabout monument in the centre of the capital, Manama, after it became the rallying point for anti-government demonstrations. Many protesters were killed or arrested, but the movement has continued to simmer.
Mohammed al-Maskati, president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera on the phone from Manama that hundreds of people marched to the site from the village of Sanabis.
When the protesters got close to the site of the former roundabout, security forces reportedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets.
“There are a lot of injuries. [People are] trying to transfer them to the closest houses to treat them, there are nurses who are volunteers,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, a woman who was seriously hurt during a recent anti-government protest in the Gulf kingdom died of her injuries, according to the ministry of health.
The ministry’s statement said the 27-year-old woman sustained head injuries during “rioting” last month in a Shia village near the capital. She died in a hospital early on Wednesday.
Bahraini rights groups say she was fatally injured in the head by a metal rod during a November protest and that security forces were responsible for her death.
More than 35 people have died in clashes and protest-related violence since February when the pro-democracy protesters, many of them Shia, started campaigning for greater rights in the Sunni-ruled Bahrain.
The strategically important and petroleum-rich island is the home of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet. Bahraini activists say these factors have led to a far more muted response to their protests, compared to recent uprisings in other Arab countries.