Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Bahrain protesters block highway, clash with police

Reuters, MANAMA

Waves of protesters blocked a main thoroughfare to Bahrain Financial Harbor yesterday, a major business district in the Gulf banking center, facing off with police who fired tear gas and water cannon.

In one of the most violent confrontations since the military killed seven protesters on Feb. 17, youths erected barricades across the highway after overwhelming riot police near the Pearl roundabout, the focal point of weeks of demonstrations.

“The Ministry of Interior ... advised all protesters to return to the Pearl roundabout for their own safety,” it said in a statement, adding that one policeman had been stabbed and one taken to hospital with head wounds after coming under attack.

There have been few violent confrontations between police and protesters since the killings last month, but clashes have broken out almost daily between mainly Shiite Muslim opponents of the government and its Sunni supporters.

In Hidd, near Bahrain International Airport, a witness saw groups of Sunni residents checking the identities of those entering their neighborhoods. At some entrances, vigilantes wore orange vests to identify each other.

In another incident, police fired tear gas to separate a group of Shiite Muslim protesters at Bahrain University from a group of Sunnis armed with sticks, witnesses said.

Sectarian clashes have also broken out in schools and streets in recent days, and rumors spread that shops owned by Shiite businessmen were attacked or closed in Sunni areas.

“These actions are intended to spread sectarian tensions,” the Chambers of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

“This sensitive situation that the kingdom is passing through cannot stand any more tension and escalation as the biggest loser from this ... is the national economy that has been exposed to major losses in the recent period,” it said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top