Bahrain Police Fire Tear Gas, Stun Grenades at Protesters

Posted January 1st, 2012 at 1:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Witnesses say riot police in Sunni-ruled Bahrain fired tear gas and stun grenades as they clashed Sunday with hundreds of Shi'ite opposition supporters after the funeral for a 15-year-old protester killed a day earlier.

Thousands of chanting demonstrators, some carrying Bahraini flags, converged Sunday on the island of Sitra, south of Manama, to mourn the death of the youth.

The opposition claims the teenager was hit by a tear gas cannister at close range. But authorities later raised questions about the circumstances of the death and said it would be investigated.

Bahraini security forces faced off against protesters through much of 2011 in a series of confrontations. Analysts say the protesters have drawn inspiration from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. At least 35 people were killed in the Bahraini unrest during 2011, including police.

The head of a special commission probing the violence said in November that the government used excessive force, including the torture of detainees, at the height of its crackdown in March 2011.

But the report concluded there was no evidence that Gulf-area troops committed human rights abuses, after Bahrain called in Saudi troops in March to help crush the protests.