x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Bahrain police use tear gas as protesters gather

Protesters try to occupy Pearl Square in Manama ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Shiite-led uprising.

MANAMA // Security forces in Bahrain fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters trying to occupy a landmark square in the capital yesterday ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Shiite-led uprising.

Thousands of opposition supporters marched through Manama's streets in the largest attempt in months to retake Pearl Square, the roundabout that served as the hub for protests last year against the ruling Sunni dynasty.

Thousands of riot police and other security forces have staked out positions around the square and across the country to prevent the opposition from staging a mass rally in or near the plaza to mark today's one-year anniversary of the revolt.

Opposition supporters were undeterred by the authorities' warnings about anti-government activities.

"We will not back down," said Nader Abdulimam, who had taken refuge in a house outside of Manama with other protesters overcome by tear gas.

Some protesters hurled firebombs and rocks after the security forces fired tear gas. In an area about 10 kilometres west of Manama, some demonstrators waved flags featuring the image of Pearl Square's six-pronged monument.