January 8, 2016 / 3:01 PM / 2 years ago

Bahrain police fire tear gas, bird shot at protesters - witnesses

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahraini police clashed on Friday with demonstrators who were protesting against the execution of a top Shi‘ite cleric in neighboring Saudi Arabia, witnesses said.

Around 200 demonstrators gathered in Sitra, south the capital Manama. Clashes soon broke out between police who fired tear gas and bird shot at rock and molotov cocktail-throwing protesters, some of whom chanted “Death to Al Saud, Death Al Khalifa,” referring to the Saudi and Bahraini royal families.

It was the latest of several protests which have turned violent since Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr a week ago, stoking outrage among Shi‘ites in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia in cutting ties with Iran, a mutual foe and the region’s preeminent Shi‘ite power, after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Bahrain has been politically volatile since a 2011 uprising by Shi‘ites demanding reforms was crushed, partly by military intervention from Bahrain’s Gulf Arab allies including Saudi Arabia.

Editing by Dominic Evans

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