Bahraini police block protest march on royal palace

March 11, 2011 17:16

MANAMA - Bahraini police blocked several thousand protesters from reaching the royal palace on Friday, amid fears the march would spark fighting on a Gulf island where the majority is Shi'ite Muslim but the ruling family is Sunni.

Carrying Bahraini flags and flowers, the mainly Shi'ite protesters walked from the Aly area towards Riffa, a district where Sunnis and members of the Sunni royal family live. Near a clocktower in Riffa, hundreds of residents armed with clubs and knives gathered to protect their neighborhood.

More than 200 riot police armed with batons blocked off the road with barbed wire, persuading most protesters to go home.

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