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Bahrain security forces tear-gas Shiite demo

Bahrain security forces disperse hundreds of peaceful protesters in the capital as government promises reforms after report into crackdown on protests earlier this year that left 35 dead

AFP , Sunday 18 Dec 2011
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Bahraini security forces on Sunday dispersed several hundred Shiite demonstrators who gathered outside the capital Manama for the fourth day in a row, an AFP correspondent said.

Riot police stormed a roundabout on the Budaiya highway where men and women had gathered and chanted slogans against the government of the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

On Thursday, female blogger Zainab al-Khawaja was roughed up, handcuffed and dragged off into custody from the same roundabout for refusing to end a sit-in.

Police fired tear gas on Sunday before they used batons to chase demonstrators out of the area.

Shiite youth groups had called for a series of consecutive protests on the highway which links Shiite villages with Manama's former Pearl Square, the focal point of a month-long pro-democracy uprising that was crushed in March.

The crackdown comes even after Bahrain's government promised reforms following the publication last month of a highly critical report into the protests in February and March.

The report said the death toll from the crackdown on the Shiite-led pro-democracy protests had reached 35, and that police had used "excessive force" and tortured detainees.

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