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Continued clashes in Bahrain on anniversary of revolution

The protests continue today as people attempt to get to Pearl Square, which was the epicenter of protests last year.

Clashes in Bahrain yesterday afternoon
Clashes in Bahrain yesterday afternoon
Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

CLASHES HAVE CONTINUED to take place in Bahrain today on the anniversary of last year’s uprising in the country.

BBC News reports that tear gas and rubber bullets were fired by police at youths in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, while the youths threw back petrol bombs and stones.

Parts of the city are now sealed off as the protesters are trying to occupy Pearl Square  in the capital ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Gulf kingdom’s Shiite-led uprising.

Authorities sent troop reinforcements and armoured vehicles to the predominantly Shiite villages around the capital Manama to prevent people from gathering and answering the call of the main opposition movement, Al Wefaq.

The government meanwhile threatened to take legal action against the organisers of protests on Monday that turned violent. This could herald a new crackdown on Al Wefaq, which until last year was tolerated but which has suffered sporadic prosecutions and detentions after it took the lead in last year’s protests.

Yesterday, thousands of opposition supporters marched through Manama’s streets in the largest attempt in months to retake Pearl Square.

This is the central roundabout that served as the epicenter of weeks of protests last year by Bahrain’s Shiite majority against the ruling Sunni dynasty.

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

At least 40 people have been killed during months of unprecedented political unrest in Bahrain.

Amnesty International released a statement saying the Bahraini government “remains far from delivering the human rights changes that were recommended by an independent internal commission”.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme,  said:

Despite promises made by the government, victims and families of victims of the serious human rights violations –   torture, arbitrary detention and excessive use of force – that have taken place since protests began a year ago are still waiting for justice.

Amnesty has asked the Bahraini authorities to lift restrictions on foreign journalists and international human rights organisations and said it feared that the government “wanted to avoid international scrutiny” today.

Meanwhile, Anonymous posted a message online yesterday asking people to target Bahraini websites, including those of Bahrain news agency and government sites.

The Guardian reports that Britain has been selling arms to Bahrain despite the unrest there – and that equipment valued at £1 million was sold in the past year.

- Additional reporting Associated Press

Read: One year on: What has the Arab Spring changed?>

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