Bahraini police fired tear gas at demonstrators participating in a pro-democracy protest in the capital of Manama.
Riot police clashed with protesters as dozens of people gathered in Manama’s main street calling for the “self-determination right” as well as for increased freedoms and rights for the country’s Shiite Muslim majority.
Protesters chanted “Down, down, down Hamad!” in reference to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the head of Bahrain’s ruling monarchy.
At least seven arrests were made as hundreds of riot police were deployed in Manama, witnesses reported. After the initial protest got dispersed, demonstrators regrouped and continued their rally.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter that police stepped in to restore order after groups of “thugs” started rioting and “hurling Molotov cocktails” at law enforcers.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth fleet, continues to see almost daily demonstrations and clashes. The Shiite Muslim majority demands a bigger role in running the country controlled by al-Khalifa family, who are Sunni Muslims.
At least 50 people have died in nearly 20 months of unrest, with a 16-year-old boy becoming one of the latest victims.
Thousands of anti-government activists have been arrested, says the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. This includes human rights activist Nabeel Rajab who, after several detainments, was sentenced to three years in jail for “participation in an illegal assembly” and “calling for a march without prior notification.” His bail request was rejected on September, 10.