Bahrain police fire tear gas, birdshot at protesters

January 4, 2016 17:49


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DUBAI - Bahraini police on Monday fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters demonstrating against the execution of a top Shi'ite cleric in neighboring Saudi Arabia, witnesses said.

The standoff in the village of al-Daih, west of the capital Manama, was the latest of several protests which have turned violent since Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday, stoking outrage among Shi'ites in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Several dozen women wearing face veils faced off with police chanting, "down with the house of Saud" when a group of masked youths arrived and threw stones and petrol bombs at the personnel, who responded with tear gas and birdshot.

Nimr's execution has deepened sectarian sensitivities in the region, and Bahrain on Monday joined Saudi Arabia in cutting ties with Iran, a mutual foe and the region's preeminent Shi'ite power, after a mob stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Bahrain has been politically volatile since a 2011 uprising by the Shi'ite community demanding reforms and a bigger role in running the Sunni-led country was crushed, partly by military intervention from Bahrain's Gulf Arab allies including Saudi Arabia.

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