Bahrain police crackdown on highway protest
Manama: Bahraini security forces used tear
gas and stun grenades to try to disperse hundreds of
opposition supporters attempting to protest alongside a
highway leading to the island kingdom`s capital on Thursday.
The clashes follow 10 months of unrest between Bahrain`s
Sunni monarchy and an opposition movement led by the country`s
They came during a visit by the US State Department`s top
human rights envoy, who expressed concern about the
government`s use of tear gas and other tough tactics against
Today`s clashes erupted near the town of Diraz and other
opposition stronghold villages west of the capital, Manama.
Riot police were seen chasing protesters away from
entrances to the key highway and back into the largely Shiite
communities that line the road.
Online activists have issued calls on Twitter and other
social media for marchers to occupy the highway, seeking to
maintain momentum for protests in the strategically important
Gulf nation that hosts the US Navy`s 5th Fleet.
Hundreds of marchers, some waving red and white Bahraini
flags, were seen along the side of the highway when the
clashes broke out in the afternoon.
Witnesses described a heavy police presence in the area
ahead of the protest, with security forces dressed in riot
gear and helicopters hovering low overhead.
The highway connects a string of largely Shiite villages
west of Manama.
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