Bahraini Police Fire Tear Gas at Shi’ite Protesters, Teenager Killed

Posted August 31st, 2011 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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Bahraini opposition activists say security forces Wednesday fired tear gas at anti-government protesters in a Shi'ite village, killing a teenage boy.

The activists say the 14-year-old died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired at close range in Sitra. The protesters had gathered in the village after morning prayers. Bahraini officials say they are investigating the death.

Bahrain's majority Shi'ites have held sporadic anti-government protests since the country's minority Sunni leaders lifted emergency rule in June. The recent protests have led to frequent, small-scale confrontations with Bahraini security forces.

The ruling al-Khalifa family imposed emergency rule as part of a violent crackdown on mass opposition protests in February and March. Bahrain's government crushed the uprising with help from neighboring Sunni states. At least 30 people were killed.

Bahraini Shi'ites complain of discrimination by the ruling al-Khalifa family. They also have been protesting for a greater say in the affairs of the island state.

Bahrain's government began a national dialogue with the opposition on political reforms last month, but Shi'ite politicians walked out, accusing the ruling family of not being committed to real change.