x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Three injured as Bahrain cracks down on Shiite-led protests

Demonstrators are marking the anniversary of regime-change protests that were crushed last March.

Bahraini forces have injured three people after firing tear gas at dozens of demonstrators ahead of the anniversary of Shiite-led protests crushed in March, an opposition activist said on Saturday.

"Three people were severely wounded by tear gas canisters" fired at protesters on Friday, said the source who requested anonymity.

Several others suffered from breathing difficulties after inhaling the gas.

Shiite-led protests took off from neighbourhoods in Manama as well as from the villages of Duraz, Northen Sehla, Sitra, Sanad, Demistan, Bilad al-Qadeem, Aali, Malikya, Tashan, Maameer, and Adhari, the main Shiite opposition formation Al-Wefaq said in statement.

Bahraini forces "are excessively using tear gas to punish residents in areas where protests are taking place," said the opposition activist.

Tensions have run high in the Gulf kingdom as the opposition and activists prepare to commemorate the first anniversary of their uprising on Tuesday.

Activists have announced plans to march to Manama's former Pearl Square, the focal point of the protest, which was razed after the deadly crackdown.

Last year's crackdown led to the deaths of 35 people, including five security personnel and five detainees who were tortured to death, an independent commission of inquiry appointed by King Hamad found.