Police assault protesters in Bahrain capital
Published Friday, September 21, 2012
Witnesses in Bahrain say riot police have clashed with anti-government protesters in the heart of the Gulf kingdom's capital, leading to several injuries and arrests.
Security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades in street battles near the historic markets and narrow streets in the center of Manama.
Activists are publishing photographs on social network sites Twitter and Facebook of badly bruised protesters they say were injured by government "mercenaries."
The clashes Friday mark the second such violence in Manama in the past month as the repressive monarchy continues its clampdown on pro-democracy protesters in the capital.
Most clashes in recent months have occurred in outlying areas.
More than 50 people have been killed in unrest since February 2011 between Bahrain's Western-backed rulers and protesters seeking greater social and political rights.
International human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the kingdom for its brutal crackdown and ruthless imprisonment of dissidents.
The small but strategic kingdom is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet which polices the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and some of the east African coastline including Somalia.